Don't force students to switch, says Nik Aziz

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 05 Jan 2003

KOTA BARU: The Government can encourage students to switch from community religious schools (sekolah agama rakyat), to government schools but it should not force them, said PAS spiritual advisor Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat. 

He said religious schools had a proven track record in producing a large number of professionals, successful entrepreneurs and clerics.  

“Yes, the Government can encourage pupils to switch. But to compel them to do so is wrong,” he added, after launching a gotong-royong to clean up dengue-prone areas here. 

State Barisan Nasional chief Datuk Mustapa Mohamed expressed hope that Kelantanese would respond positively to the Government’s “invitation” for pupils to transfer themselves to government-funded schools.  

“Our public education system is the best and it has produced many competent leaders, including clerics. Government schools are also generally better equipped and staffed with more qualified teachers,” he added. 

Mustapa said parents also need not worry about their children getting a proper foundation in Islam as there were a few religious schools in Kelantan, which were funded by the Federal Government. 

“There is ample room to study religion. And even in government schools, we offer courses in religion and Arabic, which are taught by qualified teachers, some of whom graduated from Egypt’s Al-Azhar University,'' said Mustapa when contacted. 

Nik Aziz, when asked to comment on Perlis' proposal to permit Muslim men to take a second wife without the first wife’s consent, would only reply: “As far as I’m concerned, polygamy is legal in Kelantan and there is no need for men to go to Perlis to get married.” 

When told the issue was not about the legality of polygamy but the procedures relating to taking a second wife, Nik Aziz replied he was not so “well-versed” with Kelantan’s laws on polygamy. 

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