KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Education today said it has never prevented the Ponggal festival from being celebrated in schools.
The ministry in a statement today said it encouraged the participation of schoolchildren in all cross-cultural activities in the effort to inculcate the spirit of tolerance, understanding and mutual respect among the multiracial community.
“The Ministry of Education recognises that schools are a place for fostering unity among the multiracial community in Malaysia.
“The culture and customs of the various races must be known, understood and respected by all parties including school administrators, teachers and students,“ it said.
The statement also referred to the ministry’s letter with the reference number ‘KPM. 100-1 / 3/2 (64)’ dated Jan 13, 2020.
“The letter was issued to allay the fear of parents of Muslim students over the involvement of their children during the festivities,“ the statement said.
The ministry said the letter took into account the stand and guidelines issued by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim).
The ministry also reminded schools to abide by the rules in force if they wished to hold specific festive celebrations in schools.
Jakim in a separate statement said its Syariah Experts Panel also felt it was necessary for Muslims to wish their friends and neighbours for the celebration.
Ponggal or harvest festival, is a major celebration for the Indian community, especially farmers, and falls on the 10th month of the Tamil calendar. - Bernama