Schools can Form Religious Societies; The Approval Power is Vested with Schoolmasters

Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia

Recently there was an incident where a secondary school principal in Melaka closed its Buddhist society because there was a tendency among its students to join the Buddhist Society or Chinese Language Society. A few days ago, the Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia (YBAM) received yet another similar case from a secondary school in Mentakab, Pahang. The reason given by the headmaster for the closure was that non-Islam religious societies were not part of extra-curricular activities approved by the State Education Department.

Such incidents happened in June 2010 at the Klang High School. The school authorities also used a similar reason to close non-Islam religious societies. After intervention by the Deputy Prime Minister and others, non-Islam religious societies in that school were allowed to operate again. 

The Education Department issued a new circular in April 2011, stating that as long as the necessary conditions are fulfilled, principals can approve the formation of religious societies. YBAM has a copy of that circular.

Buddhist society of any secondary school which faces such similar problem, please contact the secretariat of YBAM and request for a copy of that circular to show to the principal concerned. Contact number of YBAM: 03-7804 9154 / 9157.

YBAM is of the view that students’ participation in religious societies, apart from purifying their bodies and minds, they can also learn the religious values outside school hours on how to deal with people and handle problems. Such constrain imposed by school principals, to the extent of prohibiting students from practicing their religions, is against the religious freedom as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

May the Blessings of the Triple Gem be with you and your family always.

With Metta, 
Lee Chung Yen, Executive Secretary,
Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia