GEORGE TOWN, Oct 7 — Penang state exco Dr Afif Bahardin today said the proposal for single-stream schools by the Malay Dignity Congress needed further discussion as this also meant absorbing Sekolah Agama Rakyat (SAR) or Islamic religious schools into the national school system.
He said the issue of single-stream schools does not only affect Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools.
“If we want to implement a single-stream school system, it must be across the board and this includes Islamic religious schools,” he said.
He asked if the congress also wanted SAR to be absorbed into the national school system along with Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools.
Dr Afif said this issue is not as simple as announcing a single-stream and implementing it.
“I understand their demand for single-stream schools is based on wanting to form a Malaysian identity. It is not racist, but we must also look at the impact and implications,” he said during a press conference today.
Dr Afif had also attended the congress and echoed Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement that the event was not racist.
He said it was not a racial congress but more of an event held to discuss the issues faced by a majority of the Malays and Bumiputera.
“The resolutions passed were to ask for changes to help the Malays and Bumiputera,” he said.
He said the congress was also more of a “self-critical” event in which the progress of Malays and Bumiputera in the country was weighed in terms of economic and educational achievements, and how the government could assist them further in this direction.