KUALA LUMPUR: Future school debating events will be vetted beforehand to avoid sensitive religious issues being raised as topics, says Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik.
"We are in the midst of updating the ministry's standard operation procedure, which organisers of future debating events must follow.
"This is to ensure the selection of debate topics are done before the date of the event is finalised," he said when answering a supplementary question raised by Siti Zailah Mohd Yusof (PAS-Rantau Panjang) in Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday (Oct 22).
Earlier, Dr Maszlee informed the House that his ministry had set up a committee to probe the recent incident involving the Piala Tun Razak 2019 English debating championship.
"The committee found that the topics of debate could touch on religious sensitivities," he said.
He added that the probe also revealed a breakdown between the organising host, Sekolah Dato Abdul Razak, jury panel and accompanying teachers although there was a platform to raise objections on topics.
To avoid a repeat of such incidents in the future, he said his ministry is updating the guidelines for future school debating events.
"UiTM has also taken note that its students had participated as panel jury for the event and are being investigated by UiTM student affairs authorities," he said when answering a question raised by Datuk Che Abdullah Mat Nawi (PAS-Tumpat).
A brief exchange between the two ensued when Che Abdullah claimed that the Piala Tun Razak issue had led to negative public perception against the Pakatan Harapan government.
He said that it gave the public the impression as though Pakatan was the patron of liberals and those who insult Islam.
"Those responsible merely issued an apology and were not remorseful.
"Rather they had used the opportunity to justify their actions," Che Abdullah said.
Dr Maszlee demanded Che Abdullah retract his claims and was ordered to do so by Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof.
An uproar erupted last week over the debate event when three topics had touched on sensitivities on Islam and the Quran.