Ti slams Umno Youth chief over ‘uncouth’ defence of hadith module

(FMT) – MCA vice-president Ti Lian Ker has called out Umno Youth chief Dr Akmal Saleh for his “uncouth” mannerism in defending the government’s decision to introduce a module on the “Imam Al-Nawawi 40 Hadith” for Muslim children in public schools.

Ti said Akmal must practise humility and respect for the law and the Federal Constitution by allowing concerned parents, religious leaders, and NGOs to seek clarification on the module.

“Freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental right of all citizens under Article 10 of the constitution, and the rights of all to inquire, question or debate on policies proposed or implemented must be respected,” he said in a statement.

He said such fundamental rights cannot be encroached, curtailed or suppressed by politicians or parties by using religion, race or culture.

He was commenting on Akmal’s statement in an online video broadcast yesterday that “if anyone questions (the module), whether friend or foe, be prepared to face Umno Youth first”.

Ti said Akmal’s remarks sounded “brutish” and “uncouth”, adding that it is such mannerisms that have tarnished Umno and Barisan Nasional’s public image “in the eyes and minds of the fair-minded Malaysians of all races”.

He said even Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim had listened to MCA president Wee Ka Siong’s concerns over the module and made an effort to assure the public instead of “shoving down the throat” the proposal in an “antagonistic, disrespectful and arrogant manner”.

Wee earlier said the use of the word “diperluaskan” (to be expanded) during the introduction of the module has raised questions about whether the implementation of the module will involve all students, regardless of their background.

He was quoted as saying by Utusan Malaysia that the module triggered the public’s reaction as the term “projek perintis” (pilot project) had been initially used before it was changed to “diperluaskan” (to be expanded).

On Friday, Anwar clarified that the government has never forced non-Muslims to memorise or delve into the compilation of the 40 hadiths by Imam Nawawi.