National schools ‘breeding racists, extremists’

Yvonne Lim

Lawyer and activist Siti Kasim (centre) blames the public school system for creating a society that is increasingly polarised. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, November 26, 2018.

HUMAN rights lawyer and activist Siti Kasim has branded Malaysia’s national school system as “indoctrinating factories for Malay children” and blamed the system for creating a society that was increasingly polarised.

“In Malaysia, we have institutionalised racism and Islamo-fascism from primary schools right up to university. This is why we have the problems that we have today,” said Siti.

She was commenting on The Malaysian Insight’s report yesterday that some mission and vernacular schools in Malacca have two canteens – one for non-Muslims, and one exclusively for Muslim teachers and pupils.

She has been campaigning and approaching the government to revamp and abolish the “religion-centric nature of our schools and curriculum”, which she said has affected even the teachers and teaching environment.

“They have been producing racists and religious supremacists by design for more than 35 years,” said the vocal proponent of Malaysia’s ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Citing the case of the separate canteens, Siti said the public school system is breeding a society with a myopic view on race and religion, which is detrimental to the country’s progress.

“Unfortunately, we are either governed by Islamists who only see what they want to see and apologists who cannot confront the problem because it makes them feel bad about their race and religion.

“Either way, we need a leader to emerge and say, we need a Malaysia that will progress and not one that will descend into religious and racial chaos. We need this sooner rather than later.”


However, Islamic architecture professor Prof Tajuddin Rasdi of UCSI University said activists should not over-react to the separate canteen issue, saying that it should be seen as a form of respect for cultural and religious uniqueness.

“Just like we should all be allowed to have our own space to pray in our own way. It’s not about a halal or non-halal thing, these schools are demonstrating sensitivity towards the culture of others – in this case, Muslims who have unique dietary restrictions, and are particular about how their food is prepared,” Tajuddin told The Malaysian Insight.

“I view this as a positive thing. The schools are operating correctly within the bounds.”

Asked whether it was right for the ustaz at SMK St Francis to reprimand Muslim pupils for eating at the “Chinese canteen”, Tajuddin said the religious teacher was merely “performing the role of a guardian” and looking out for the religious interests of the pupils.

“The ustaz was just trying to defuse any potential problem… because if he doesn’t do that, some Muslim parents might be angry that there’s another canteen for their children but they’re not going there.”

Tajuddin admitted that such segregation policies would affect racial integration in the long run, but reiterated that it was important to teach students the value of respecting other cultures and religions.

“They can always eat together after school,” he said.

“Small things, slight inconveniences, for the larger purpose of racial harmony. Nothing wrong with different cultures doing certain things on their own.” – November 26, 2018.

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  • Remove religions from all academic institutions. Racial discrimination will then diminish on its own. That's the way to go.

    Posted 5 years ago by Tanahair Ku · Reply

  • Siti is spot on. They are being indoctrinated from a young age and the teachers plus school administrators encourage it. Why can't the halal and non-halal fopd be served in the same canteen or cafetaria but at separate areas just like in the UAE?

    Posted 5 years ago by Gerard Lourdesamy · Reply

  • Schools shld place where Students come to Gain Knowledge n Wisdom ALL SCHOOLS SHLD BE FREE FROM RELIGION RACE All malaysians can see where Malays are today Companies are forced to employ them or the company is penalised If Malays are educated they will be in par with non malay where education is concerned PAKSA PAKSA HERO

    Posted 5 years ago by Tharan Singh · Reply

  • Quote: Just like we should all be allowed to have our own space to pray in our own way. Its not about a halal or non-halal thing, these schools are demonstrating sensitivity towards the culture of others in this case, Muslims who have unique dietary restrictions, and are particular about how their food is prepared,
    Tajuddin must be mentally retarded. He says its not about it being halal or non-halal then states Muslims have unique dietary requirements.

    Segregation he terms it as being sensitive to other cultures. What's next? Segregation on public transport, public facilities etc?

    Posted 5 years ago by Zamorin 5 · Reply

  • Needless to say, Maszlee has a very important role to play in creating a doctrine of impartiality and equality in schools.
    It is not just introducing feel good programmes because the execution of such programmes are dependent on the school teaching fraternity (headmasters, principals, teachers).. this is where other ideologies come in and confuse the teaching system. Then it is the Jabatan Pendidikan and the MOE - whether they are supporting Maszlee or sabotaging him.
    These are challenges that stand in the way of Maszlee, and he needs help from associations like the Parent-Teacher associations, Civil societies, etc to help him get through these challenges.

    Posted 5 years ago by TTs Take · Reply

  • Siti, you are 100% right. No point signing the ICERD if those elements in schools are not rid of. Horrible experiences related by non Malays are aplenty - from religious discrimination to racial slurs.

    Posted 5 years ago by Awang Bilis · Reply

  • No untaz in schools. Why one canteen for Muslims and one for exclusive to Muslims. Make it as one serving pork and the other not? And yes we have idiot professors. Our entire education system has been tainted and reaching the bottom producing kangkong teachers and professors...

    Posted 5 years ago by Alphonz Jayaraman · Reply

    • You are right we must keep the religious teachers out of national schools. All schools must have a governing board that makes a decision whether to hire a principal or otherwise. No simply transferring teachers by the state education department. Right now, the schools aren't even focused on equipping the kids with skills, We are producing an idiocracy.

      Posted 5 years ago by K Pop · Reply

  • I will never send my kids to UCSI school, if they hire such idiots as professor.

    Posted 5 years ago by Tiong Fee Chua · Reply