Seeking a 'common prayer'

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 10 Jul 2003


KUALA LUMPUR: Various religious groups are being consulted by the Education Ministry to formulate a “common prayer” for schools to implement at their discretion. 

Director-General of Education Datuk Abdul Rafie Mahat said this was to ensure the common values of all religions were reflected in the “common prayer,” aimed at fostering harmony and the spirit of tolerance in schools. 

“There have been reports that some schools are ‘too Islamic’ in the way they conduct ceremonies, etc. To avoid this, we want to formulate a common prayer, which would not offend anyone.  

“Every religion has its own way of doing things, for example, giving thanks before or after completing a task.  

“This common prayer will be a guide on how schools can do things without offending anyone else. 

“As such, it is important that we consult the various religious bodies to ask their views,” Abdul Rafie told The Star.  

He was responding to Deputy Education Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Shamsudin’s comment that ministry officials were “dragging their feet” in implementing the prayer. 

The proposal to produce a common prayer was mooted after SRK Convent Lebuh Light in Penang recently announced its decision to stop reciting the doa selamat.  

State Education Committee chairman Datuk Dr Toh Kin Woon had announced that pupils at the school would no longer recite the doa selamat following an agreement reached by the school’s headmistress, parent-teacher association, alumni and board of directors. 

Abdul Rafie also clarified that schools would not be forced to implement the common prayer. 

“We will provide the prayer as a guide and it will be up to the schools to decide if they want to use it or not,” he said. 

Religious adviser to the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Othman said on Tuesday that the recitation of the doa selamat (prayer) during daily morning assembly in schools was “not necessary” if it creates unhappiness among the other communities.  

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