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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Minister denies that Orang Asli children were slapped



Rural and Regional Development Minister Shafie Apdal today denied that four Orang Asli children were slapped by their teacher for not reciting the doa (Islamic prayer) before a meal. 

shafie apdal and mps no defection pc 280808 04The minister (right) also denied that the children at SK Pos Bihai in Gua Musang - all non-Muslims - were taught Islamic studies without their parents’ consent.

“It is not compulsory for students to take up religious education either through formal education or the recital of prayers. 

“It’s just that sometimes these things are politicised... It is not true to say that (the slapping incident) happened,” he told reporters this morning.
He added that his ministry is committed to resolving the matter based on facts.

"It's not a problem. If there is a complaint we will ensure that it has been resolved. We have to find out the truth as sometimes things are raised to instigate enmity," he said.
Meanwhile, Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) director Mohd Sani Mistam, who was also at the press conference, said a meeting has been arranged with the respective parents on the matter. 

The meeting set for tomorrow is aimed at clarifying the alleged misunderstanding and will also be attended by the district Education Department and the Human Rights Commission.

Last week, three fathers from the non-Muslim Orang Asal community of Pos Bihai made a three-hour journey to lodge a police report on the matter at the Gua Musang police station. 

They claimed that their children, four 12-year-old girls, were slapped by a male teacher on Oct 23 for failing to recite the doabefore lunch. 

They also said that they had no knowledge the children at SK Pos Bihai - an exclusively Orang Asli school - were being taught Islamic studies until earlier last week.

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