JOHOR BARU, Jan 9 — Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim said the government’s plan to set up a National Tahfiz Council was timely as the safety of tahfiz students would be at stake if authorities are not strict in enforcing regulations for the operations of the religious institutions.
“It is time for these steps to be taken in Malaysia because the number of private tahfiz schools is on the rise and there are some schools that are ignoring the safety of their students,” he said in a Facebook posting today.
Tunku Ismail’s post was in relation to the federal government’s announcement late last year that it planned to set up a National Tahfiz Council in an effort to coordinate private tahfiz schools.
The 34-year-old heir to the Johor royal throne said he hoped that the process of registering tahfiz schools could be completed as soon as possible to ensure that school buildings comply with the standards set by the Fire and Rescue Department.
He said the buildings must have a Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC) and adhere to rules set by local authorities.
“I would like to remind the state government of the decree by His Majesty the Sultan of Johor back in September 2017 and 2018, that all tahfiz schools must register and obtain a certificate of recognition before operating in Johor.
“We are gambling with the lives of students and teachers if the regulations are not strictly enforced,” he said.
Tunku Ismail, popularly known as TMJ (his Malay initials for Tunku Mahkota Johor), also reminded the public about the fire that occurred at a tahfiz school in Kampung Datuk Keramat in Kuala Lumpur nearly two years ago.
“I believe that all of us can still recall the tahfiz school fire incident that took the lives of 23 students and a teacher in 2017.
“It still saddens me every time I think of the incident. A tragedy like this should not have happened and must be avoided in the future,” he said.
In November last year, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Fuziah Salleh announced in Dewan Rakyat the proposed establishment of a National Tahfiz Council to regulate private tahfiz schools registered with state administrations.
She added that the move would be bolstered by the government’s bid to amend Section 97 of the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 1993 to widen the power of state Islamic Religious Councils to regulate tahfiz schools.