Ponggal ban for Muslims: Education Ministry and Jakim blame each other!

Ponggal ban for Muslims: Education Ministry and Jakim blame each other!

PUCHONG: Under heavy fire for declaring Ponggal celebration as haram for Muslims, both the Education Ministry and the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) turned against each other over the fiasco.

In a statement today, the Education Ministry said that it did not issue the instruction with intention to bar Ponggal celebration in schools.

It went on to say that the ministry always encourages multicultural events in schools to promote tolerance, understanding and mutual respect among Malaysians.

The Education Ministry then appeared to shift the blame on Jakim, saying they were just following the latter’s recommendation.

“Regarding the ministry circular dated January 13, it was issued to allay concerns by Muslim parents about their children’s involvement in the celebration.

“The circular’s contents took into account the position and guidelines released by Jakim,” it said.

The ministry, however, did not explain on how declaring Ponggal as haram for Muslims would help promote cultural understanding among students.

Yesterday, The Leaders Online published a circular, signed by Education Ministry deputy director general Adzman Talib on Jan 13, proclaiming that it was haram for Muslims to even participate in stirring the earthen pot used to make sweet rice.

The ministry top official said that the decision was made after consulting the Shariah Panel of Experts from Jakim, which convened meetings on the matter on 8 and 9th April 2019.

Since then, two DAP ministers, M Kulasegaran and Gobind Singh Deo had fired back at the Education Ministry, saying that Ponggal was a cultural celebration, not religious.

Unhappy with the Education Ministry’s attempt to wash its hands over the matter, Jakim issued a counter statement blaming the ministry for the Ponggal brouhaha.

In its defence, Jakim said that it merely provided advise to the ministry in regards to how Muslims should view the Ponggal celebration.

“It is the ministry’s prerogative whether to issue a circular on the matter or otherwise. Jakim only provided its views from the Islamic perspective and we did not prohibit the celebration in any way,” it said.

Jakim added that it was permissible for Muslims to wish their friends and neighbours who are celebrating certain festivities, provided it is done without the intention of recognising the other religions.

“We also advise Muslims not to mock or insult Gods of other faiths,” said Jakim.

By Vinod


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