Current Affairs

‘They Can Bring Their Own Meal’ – PAS Says Keeping School Canteens Open During Ramadan Is Excessive

PAS: Non-Muslim students can bring meals, no need to open canteen.
In a recent directive issued by Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek, school cafeterias are expected to remain open throughout the month of Ramadan, sparking controversy particularly among members of the PAS (Parti Islam Se-Malaysia).

PAS ain’t happy: Slamming the canteen order

PAS’ Chief of the Central Ulama Council, Ahmad Yahaya, has since expressed strong opposition to the minister’s directive, deeming it excessive and disrespectful to the sanctity of Ramadan.

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He criticised the move, suggesting that non-Muslim students could bring packed meals and eat in designated areas, eliminating the need for canteen operations during fasting hours.

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Ahmad yahaya, pas
Photo via Fb/Ahmad Yahaya

They (non-Muslim students) can attend school with packed meals and eat in designated areas. That is sufficient without the need for an order to open the canteen, which is seen as excessive.

“It’s important that mutual respect and understanding is fostered among students of different religious backgrounds,” he said in a statement.

‘A form of education to respect Ramadan’

Ahmad Yahaya also argued that while it is essential to educate non-Muslim students about Ramadan and fasting practices, forcing the opening of school canteens during Ramadan is unnecessary and may lead to unnecessary controversy, Malaysiakini reported.

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It doesn’t mean we’re preventing non-Muslim students from eating during the day, but it’s also a form of education for them to respect Ramadan since their school years.

“Such matters only serve to provoke unnecessary controversy and waste time,” he added.

Education Minister responds

The controversy intensified when Fadhlina defended her directive, stating that it was crucial to educate non-Muslim students about the significance of Ramadan and to promote mutual respect among students of diverse religious beliefs.

Canteen at sekolah kebangsaan pelabuhan klang
For illustration purposes only. Photo via NST

She said that the need for school canteens to remain open to accommodate the dietary needs of all students, including those who may not be fasting.

“The canteen must be open. Secondly, there must be an educational aspect towards respect, especially for schools with non-Muslim children. So the process of educating to understand and respect each other is very important,” she said.

What do you think of PAS’ objection to the directive to keep canteens open during Ramadan? Share with us in the comments!


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