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Published: Saturday July 13, 2013 MYT 4:57:00 PM
Updated: Saturday July 13, 2013 MYT 6:41:16 PM

Make Islamic studies subject elective, not compulsory, say MCA, DAP

PETALING JAYA: MCA and DAP have opposed a move to make Islamic and Asian Civilisation Studies (Titas) a compulsory subject for local private tertiary students.

They said the subject should have been introduced as an elective and making it compulsory was not fair to non-Muslims.

MCA vice-president Gan Ping Sieu.
MCA vice-president Gan Ping Sieu.

To make study of a single religion or civilisation compulsory for non-followers of that religion is a step backward from national harmony," said MCA vice-president Gan Ping Sieu.

He said that Titas merited the same level of research and study warranted by other religions and civilisations of the world, but he deemed making it a compulsory subject an unfair practice.

Gan stressed that Malaysians were guaranteed the freedom of religion as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

DAP chief whip Anthony Loke Siew Fook.
DAP chief whip Anthony Loke Siew Fook.

DAP chief whip Anthony Loke Siew Fook (DAP - Seremban) said that Titas studies were to be encouraged but not made compulsory.

"The approach to make it compulsory will give students a negative picture and that they will be forced to sit for the subject," he said.

Loke said that such a subject should be included into secondary school subjects such as History and General Studies.

He also highlighted that DAP was not against Islam even though it opposed making the subject compulsory, adding that the party knows that the position of Islam is protected under the Federal Constitution.

"An understanding towards other cultures and civilisations have to be nurtured from school days and cannot be done forcefully," he said.

Some local educationists have questioned the move, adding that the new compulsory subject would mean extra stress for students, and that it needed review as it would be taught in Bahasa Malaysia.

Others however, said that the move would lead to a harmonisation of higher education here and that Titas was not about studying religion, but rather comparative Asian civilisations and common values.

In a report Friday, Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said in a parliamentary written reply to Dr Ko Chung Sen (DAP - Kampar) that the move was to standardise requirements between public and private universities.

He said that the move, which would take effect in private tertiary institutions come Sept 1, would also include Ethnic Relations and Malaysian Studies.

Foreign students in these institutions would be required to learn Malaysian Studies and Malay Language Communication courses.

Tags / Keywords: Islamic and Asian Civilisation Studies, Titas, compulsory subject, higher education

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