KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7 — Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (PUTRA) vice-president and lawyer Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz has threatened to report a public school in Puchong recently over its supposedly “religious” Chinese New Year decoration.
The lawyer accused the decoration of being “unconstitutional” and claimed that Muslim parents had complained against what they saw as an attempt to propagate a non-Islam religion to students in the SMK Pusat Bandar Puchong 1 in Pusat Bandar Puchong.
“The complaints we’ve received show unease at the excessive Chinese New Year 2020 decorations in your school. Some parents say the school looks like a Chinese-owned market with religious elements on display that are other than Islam.
“This is distressing for the Muslim students and is also against Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution,” Mohd Khairul said in a letter sent to the school’s principal Rohani Mohd Nor and shared on his Twitter account.
He did not provide any proof of the complaints.
Article 3(1) states that “Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation”.
Aduan Ibubapa SMK Pusat Bandar Puchong 1 berkaitan perhiasan perayaan CNY yang menyakitkan mata dan bertentangan dengan Perlembagaan pic.twitter.com/qX6oOaUEZw— BuzzeAzam (@suakeris) January 6, 2020
“Your actions in allowing these excessive decorations for celebrating a Chinese religious festival in a public school is also against Article 12(3) of the Federal Constitution which states ‘no person shall be required to receive instruction in or to take part in any ceremony or act of worship of a religion other than his own’.”
“Your actions are also a method of spreading the teachings of other religions among the Muslim students which is against Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution. PUTRA gives you three days to remove all the Chinese religious decorations from the school beginning from the day of this letter,” he demanded.
Article 11(4) restricts the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.
Despite his and the purported parents’ claim, the Chinese New Year is not a religious celebration, and is also celebrated by Muslims in the Chinese community. Nor did the decorations contain any religious elements.
Malay Mail is seeking comments from the school, Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, and deputy education minister Teo Nie Ching over the threat.
Most recently, the lawyer had challenged the constitutionality of vernacular schools in the country.
Last month, he had again filed a lawsuit to seek declarations from the High Court that Section 28 and Section 17 of the Education Act are inconsistent with Article 152 of the Federal Constitution.
His first attempt to do so failed; the Federal Court ruled last month that such challenges to the existence of vernacular schools must first be made in the High Court.