GUA MUSANG: The unity government has never set aside the development agenda for Muslims and the Malays, says deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
He said the unity government had always defended Islam as the official religion, the sovereignty of the Malay rulers, the special rights of the Malays, and Bahasa Malaysia as the national language.
“I’m not trying to merely defend the government leadership, but the fact remains that there is no compromise when it comes to these four, namely the position of Islam, the Malay rulers, race, and language. Those are the fundamentals under which the unity government was formed.
“The government has also never ignored the rights of other races and religions.
“Our agenda (unity government) has never side-stepped these four principles in the constitution.
“I’m not campaigning here but I am sharing what is truly coming from my heart as I have never shared this with the public,” Zahid said at a gathering with members of the Kelantan Government Retirees Association here today.
Despite all these, he said, the unity government led by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim continued to be accused of setting aside the Muslim and Malay agenda.
“Anwar is being accused of neglecting Islam, of not being concerned with religious schools and maahad tahfiz, but the truth is he (Anwar) had made efforts to provide allocations (for the development of Muslims and the Malays) through the 2023 budget totalling RM1.5 billion,” he said.
Zahid said although he was not the religious affairs minister, he was committed to the development of Muslims.
He said that among the plans being implemented was the provision of opportunities to “huffaz” from registered maahad tahfiz schools to further their studies at technical and vocational education and training (TVET) educational centres.
“There are over 3,000 TVETs nationwide and what I have done is to get many of them (huffaz) to pursue TVET.
“Now, many of them are engineers and so on, with some even working abroad,” he said, adding that this effort was through collaborations with various parties, including Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara).
He said the rural and regional development ministry, which he helmed, had also transformed kindergartens under the community development department (Kemas) into tahfiz kindergartens to instil spiritual and moral values among preschoolers.
“Matters concerning religion and spirituality must be instilled in our children from their preschool years as early education is most important,” he said.