Much criticised Islamic studies survey ongoing

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR — June 18, 2019: Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching has deleted a controversial Facebook post in which she invited Malaysians, including non-Muslims, to participate in an online survey to help fine-tune the country’s Islamic studies school syllabus.

The post, published yesterday morning, was deleted after it generated heaps of criticisms from Muslims, who argued that it was wrong for Teo to ask non-Muslims to have a say on what should and should not be taught.

Despite it being deleted, the survey opened to all Malaysians is still accessible at the Education Ministry’s official website, where it asks respondents three open-ended questions on how best to improve the syllabus.

According to Teo, the public feedback survey was being conducted by a task force formed by the National Education Advisory Council.

“So we would like to invite individuals, groups and institutions regardless of race and religion to share their views and suggest ways to enhance our primary school’s Islamic Studies syllabus,” read Teo’s now deleted post.

One of her critics argued that Teo was playing with fire and that the matter could ripple to demands for her to also do the same with the country’s Bible studies syllabus.

A political satire page at Facebook, Tentera Troll Kebangsaan Malaysia, was among the first to highlight and notify Facebookers about Teo’s deleted post and those commenting continued to chastise Teo over her brazen act.

“Stop meddling into the affairs of our religion. She talks as if there are no qualified Muslim scholars to find ways to improve the syllabus,” wrote Puspawangi Fatimah.

“I’ve said it before and I am saying it again. Never trust DAP’s politicians. They will continue to sneakily pull these kind of stunts until they can fulfill their agenda,” wrote Mohd Shahril in reference to Teo’s party.

Another Facebooker, Ahmad Fadly Ibrahim, totally disagreed with the survey as he argued that it is likely that the public has little understanding of the intricacies of fine-tuning a syllabus.

“Their views might be skewered by personal biases and incompatible with the country’s scenario, especially if the opinions do not come from experts. The ministry needs to do things properly,” wrote Fadly.

In a statement today, Teo apologised for causing the uproar and denied that she was trying to meddle in Islamic matters, while also condemning those who politicised the issue.



About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at zaidiazmi91@gmail.com.