Suspension of schoolgirls concern all Singaporeans, not just Muslims

Mr Packer Maidin said on Channel News Asia that non-Muslims should stay out of the tudung issue. He specifically mentioned that Dr Chee Soon Juan is undermining the Mufti’s statement by raising the matter.

On behalf of the Muslim members of the Singapore Democratic Party, I wish to state that the matter concerns more than just the Muslim community. As a multi-racial and multi-religious party, the SDP calls on all Singaporeans from all walks of life and all religious backgrounds to support its stand that the schoolgirls should be allowed to continue their schooling regardless of whether they choose to wear the tudung or not.

If Mr. Packer Maidin’s logic stands that Dr Chee and non-Muslims should not be involved in the issue, then Mr. Goh Chok Tong, Lee Hsien Loong and Dr Tony Tan, should also refrain from making comments. Clearly this is impossible. The decision to ban the schoolgirls from class is a national policy. All Singaporeans should therefore be concerned and be able to speak up.

Mr Packer Maidin should be made aware that it is the PAP that is trying to turn this matter into a religious issue. Whether the girls should don their tudung or not is for their parents to decide. However, the minute the girls were barred from attending a national school, the public became involved and the SDP has the responsibility to speak out. The Muslims in SDP urge Mr Maidin to stop dragging religion into the matter.

The SDP repeats its demand for the Government to let the suspended students back to their classrooms by Thursday 14 February 2002.

Abdul Rasheed

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