Govt orders Mara to lift religious ban

Mara will be ordered to lift a religious ban at its colleges and university campus in Sabah and Sarawak, the federal minister in charge, Shafie Apdal, announced on 8th February 2015 after protests by native non-Muslim parents whose children are enrolled in Mara institutions.

Feb 13, 2015

KUCHING: Mara will be ordered to lift a religious ban at its colleges and university campus in Sabah and Sarawak, the federal minister in charge, Shafie Apdal, announced on 8th February 2015 after protests by native non-Muslim parents whose children are enrolled in Mara institutions.

There is no federal government policy to restrict religious practices among Mara students, Shafie Apdal said at a hastily-convened press conference, the Malaysian Insider reported.

He said if there were any such restrictions, “they were not right.”He added, “If there is a rule, we will withdraw it.”

Shafie, as minister for regional and rural development, has oversight over Mara, set up as a bumiputera trust agency, which also runs residential science junior colleges and the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).

The press conference was called after Sarawak chief minister Adenan Satem met Shafie, over concerns of Dayak parents that their children were not being allowed to practice their faiths while enrolled at Mara colleges.

Adenan is reported to have told Shafie that such rules went against the Sarawak government’s policy on the freedom of religion, according to Malaysian Insider.

Baru Bian of Parti Keadilan Rakyat had said earlier that he would consider legal action against Mara as the ban on non-Islamic activities was unconstitutional and against the constitutional guarantee to practice religious faiths. --FMT

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