If JAKIM cannot even oversee one tahfiz school with only four pupils, a school in which one boy died; then it is time JAKIM closed shop.
JAKIM is like a monster that has gone out of control. It has too much money, too many people in it and it is a useless organisation.
The system is broken, if illegal tahfiz schools can mushroom easily.
Instead of the religious bigots finding fault with women not wearing the tudung, or female athletes being under-dressed or finding pork DNA in bars of chocolate, why don’t they speak out against the deaths in tahfiz schools?
Why do the bigots, the holier-than-thou types, and the hysterical Malays find fault with a Malay who touches a dog, or who takes a swig of beer, or is seen in a swimsuit, when serious matters like child marriages, single mothers being denied justice, child sexual abuse in religious schools, are all swept under the tikar?
The Umno-Baru administration did NOTHING to resolve the problems in tahfiz schools. Instead of addressing the issues, a former Umno-Baru Minister for Religious Affairs, was allegedly more interested in his golfing technique.
The politicians promise action, after a death. Then all is forgotten.
There were allegations of neglect, beatings, assault, sexual abuse, sodomy, bullying, children being sent outside of the school, to solicit donations from the general public.
Readers have contacted me to relate stories alleging that tahfiz school pupils had approached them at petrol stations, or whilst they were eating at a warong and asked to donate money to their tahfiz school. Isn’t this against the law?
The allegations which were reported are the ones we know. They are probably the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps, there are other allegations, like financial impropriety, that have been hushed up. Is all the money that is allocated to the school, by members of the public or the government, spent on the school or is there some hanky-panky going on?
Will this Pakatan Harapan administration be courageous enough to make the bold steps to close down the tahfiz schools? For generations, Malays sent their children to normal government type schools, then had religious lessons either at home, or in a group, after school. This method of gaining religious knowledge did not make them lesser Muslims.
I am told that some parents send their children to tahfiz schools, because they underperform at national type schools.
Why do the parents think that a school, that is solely run along religious lines, can solve their “problem” children?
Perhaps, their children were bullied at the national type schools? Why did the children not do well at the national type schools? Are the teachers boring or ignoring slow learners or have classes which are too large, that they cannot cope?
Children as young as seven, are sent to board at these tahfiz schools. This is wrong. Are parents unable to cope at home? Or is the school a convenient and cheap means of child care. This is irresponsible parenting.
So, what do you know about the tahfiz school in your area?
The tahfiz school issue is is a Malaysian problem.
We must discuss the allegations and demand action from the authorities so that children are not abused or have to die because of our silence.
The bigots and the religious leaders who should find solutions, are ineffective, lazy and are drawing gaji buta.
Religious and main stream education should be the sole responsibility of the Minister of Education.
We have a daft two-tiered system of education. The tahfiz schools are a mess because people are afraid to administer justice and enforce the law, because the tahfiz schools come under religion and they might step on some very sensitive toes. Minister Maszlee Malik must be bold enough to take charge.
The Minister for Religious Affairs, Mujahid Rawa and the Minister for Women, Family and Community Development, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, should support this move.
Video credit. AstroAwani: All tahfiz schools to be registered under the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim), said former Education Minister, Mahdzir Khalid (April 27 2017).