PRS Youth on sending Islamic religious teachers to rural schools
KUCHING: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Youth has expressed concern over the government’s intention of sending Islamic religious teachers from the Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah into schools in the rural areas, particularly those with Dayak students forming the majority.
Its publicity youth chief Andy Lawrence said their request was valid especially if the ustaz or ustazah was playing an influential role in school food rationing or tender bidding involving food supply, for instance.
“PRS will oppose placing Islamic religious teachers in rural schools where there is no Muslim students. Most schools in rural Sarawak do not have Muslim students and hence there is no necessity to place Islamic religious teachers in such schools.
“But if there are schools that have many Muslim students, then please give priority to our local Sarawakian teachers to go there. Similarly, in rural schools where there is no Muslim students, a halal certification of ration supply to these schools should not be a requirement.
“If halal certification is a requirement for the suppliers to participate in bidding as school ration suppliers, PRS will consider it bias and unfair to non-Muslim wet ration suppliers to rural schools in Sarawak. Please be reasonable and rational on this matter.
“Full autonomy in education must be given to Sarawak as it would be easier for us to understand the local sentiments and needs. Hence, it will be easier for us to manage and to speed up the development of education in Sarawak, especially to improve school infrastructure and facilities as many of the buildings are dilapidated,” he added.
It would be better if schools in the rural areas were exempted from the move of sending ustaz and ustazah to schools where Dayak and/or Christians were the majority, he said.
Andy, who is a councillor with Samarahan Municipal Council, said the party was not against Islamic religious teachers teaching in Sarawak but they would be a disservice to the local community if they were allowed to teach or reside in such schools.
Despite acknowledging the insufficient number of Islamic Studies teachers in Sarawak, he urged the government to give the Islamic Studies teaching posts to Sarawakians first and foremost.
“The Education Ministry should be focusing on critical issues at hand, like the issue of the more than 200 temporary teachers whose services are being terminated after serving for so many years in the industry,” he said.
He was referring to the Ministry of Education’s move to bring in several Islamic Studies teachers from Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah into Sarawak.
Its minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said an arrangement over this matter had already been discussed with Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.
This arrangement is special and nothing to do with the state policy of wanting to have the 90:10 ratio of Sarawakian to Peninsular Malaysian teachers in the state.
Soon Koh (fourth left) with King Hong on his right and others performing the ‘Lao Sang’ at the Limbang Chinese New Year celebration.