The new MaktabRendahSains MARA (MRSM) Students’ Guideline is trampling on the Constitutional Rights to religious freedom of the Dayaks and non-muslimBumiputras. The Government should take immediate step to abolish such discriminatory Students’ Guidelines.

The new MaktabRendahSains MARA (MRSM) Students’ Guideline is trampling on the Constitutional Rights to religious freedom of the Dayaks and non-muslimBumiputras. The Government should take immediate step to abolish such discriminatory Students’ Guidelines.
There is an Additional Rule in the MRSM Students’ Guidelines which forbids all activities of any religion other than Islam to be carried out in the MRSM colleges. The rule also forbids the exhibition of any symbol of religion other than Islam. Under the same rule, non-halal food is also not allowed to be brought into the MRSM colleges.
Basically, under these rules, Christian Dayak students studying in the MRSM colleges cannot hold any private prayer groups, cannot wear a cross and walk around the colleges and cannot bring their home-cooked food into these colleges.
Under the BN policy, MRSM is only for the Bumiputras. In Sarawak, there are 3 MRSM colleges which are in Kuching, Betong and Mukah. The BN Government seems to have forgotten that Bumiputras includes the largest race in Sarawak, the Dayaks who are mostly Christians.
Suchruleis a suppression of the rights of the Dayaks to practice Christianity. The existence of such rule in MRSM colleges will only promote the feeling of oppression amongst the Christian students in these colleges.
Not only are such rules unfair to the non-Muslim students, but they are also doing a disservice to the Muslim students, especially the Sarawakian Muslims students.
Muslims in Sarawak can live harmoniously with the non-Muslims, each practicing their different religions in the presence of another. There is no problem for the Muslims students to study in a missionary schools listening to Christians praying. There is also no problem to have Muslim and non-Muslims having meals together with the Muslims eating halal food and non-Muslim eating non-halal food.
The existence of such rules will give the perception that Muslims cannot tolerate the existence and practices of other religions in their environment. This may be the case in West Malaysia, but surely it is not the case in Sarawak.
In long-run, the existence of such rules in the MRSM Students’ guideline will brain-wash the Muslim students to be non-tolerant to the sight and practices of other religions and will ultimately segregate and divide our communities along racial and religious lines. Such is already the case in West Malaysia, we should not allow it to happen to Sarawak.
The Guideline is the product of UMNO’s racist and extremist policies which have caused disunity and disharmony amongst the Muslims and non-Muslims communities in West Malaysia. After 58 years of UMNO rules in Malaya, racial tension and religious non-tolerance are at their heights now.
We, Sarawakians, take pride in our racial harmony. Therefore, it is right that we do not allow UMNO to come into Sarawak. However, UMNO may not be physically present in Sarawak, its policies, if left unchecked, will creep into Sarawak through different government institutions.
With the existence of such rules in the learning institutions, the undesirable UMNO elements and influences are very much present and alive in Sarawak.
We call on the Sarawak Government to intervene and to do away with such rules in the MRSM colleges in Sarawak. For the sake of preserving religious and racial harmony in Sarawak for our future generations, the Sarawak Government must act decisively and immediately.
6-2-2015
Chong Chieng Jen
DAP Sarawak Chairman
Member of Parliament for Bandar Kuching
ADUN for Kota Sentosa