Surprise that MCA Ministers do not know about the government decision to make Islamic civilisation a compulsory subject for undergraduates at all public and private institutions of higher learning


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday):
What I find most surprising in the reactions yesterday to the announcement by the Minister in the Prime Ministerís Department, Datuk Dr. Abdul Hamid Othman that Islamic civilisation would be made a compulsory subject for undergraduates at all public and private institutions of higher learning is that MCA Ministers did not know of the government decision beforehand.

MCA Secretary-General and Minister for Housing and Local Government, Datuk Dr. Ting Chew Peh was reported in the press as saying that he had to seek more information from the Education Minister on the matter first before making any comment.

This is most surprising especially as the Cabinet met yesterday, which would have been the most appropriate time and forum for the MCA Ministers to seek clarification as to why such an important decision had not been brought to the Cabinet first and the views and consent of the Cabinet Ministers sought.

Malaysia is unique as being at the confluence of several great Asian civilisations, and it is a good idea to promote greater understanding among the diverse races which make up Malaysia to understand each otherís civilisation.

In this sense, it is a good idea not only to expose non-Muslim students to Islamic civilisation but also to expose Muslim students to non-Muslim civilisations.

It is important that the Acting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should be sensitive to the multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural characteristics in Malaysia and should allow the various religions to have a say before introducing Islamic Civilisation as a compulsory subject for undergraduates at all public and private institutions of higher learning.

It would definitely be more in keeping with Malaysiaís unique position as a confluence of several great Asian civilisations to make Islamic and Asian civilisations a compulsory subject for students in Malaysian universities.

This would not only promote national integration but be a good example for the world of a model for nation building in a plural society.

(26/6/97)


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong