KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 — The Education Ministry (MoE) has reportedly said that the newly introduced “Imam Al-Nawawi's 40 Hadith” module in school is intended for Muslim students within public schools only.
According to news portal Malaysiakini, Deputy Education Minister Lim Hui Ying confirmed that Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek underscored this distinction during a recent post-Cabinet meeting.
“This course only involves Muslim teachers and students. For Chinese and Tamil schools, only Muslim students need to attend, and not non-Muslim students. This is very clear.
“The minister has openly and clearly stated this to the deputy minister, secretary-general, heads of various departments, and others present at the post-Cabinet meeting,” Lim was quoted as saying by the news portal.
On August 23, the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Taoism (MCCBCHST) criticised the implementation of the “Imam Al Nawawi's 40 Hadith” appreciation module in national schools by the MoE, deeming it unconstitutional.
The MCCBCHST argued that the module promotes the complete Islamic way of life, which they believe goes against the principles of religious freedom enshrined in Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution, adding that Article 12(2) and Article 12(3) also safeguard Malaysians from being instructed in any religion other than their own.
The group urged the MoE to consult with them as stakeholders in the matter, emphasising that national schools should promote unity rather than introduce divisive policies.
On August 19, Bernama reported that Fadhlina launched the appreciation module aimed at fostering the values of the Prophet Muhammad’s sayings or “hadith” at the school level.
The appreciation module will be introduced in National Religious Secondary Schools and Government-funded Religious Schools and will gradually extend its implementation to other public schools.
Education Ministry Islamic Education Division senior deputy director Omar Salleh emphasised that this initiative is geared towards fostering a sense of love and enhancing religious understanding, particularly among Muslim students.
He said that the development of this module was undertaken based on a recommendation from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, aimed at ensuring the teaching of “hadith” in schools.