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Don't force Year One pupils to fast if they can't do it, says Fadhlina

Publish date: Sun, 26 Mar 2023, 11:56 AM

NIBONG TEBAL: The Education Ministry has asked schools to monitor Muslim students, especially those in Year One who are fasting, whether they are able to complete the fast.

Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek, who raised concern over the pupils' health and safety, said she noticed some Year One pupils were asked by their parents to fast in schools but many ended up being tired and unable to perform the ritual.

She said if teachers witnessed their pupils tired from fasting, they should discuss the matter with the parents.

"There must be monitoring done in schools.

"If teachers see that a child is dehydrated or has health issue or is not ready to fast, I asked them to discuss with the parents of the pupils involved so that there is some lessons can be derived from it (in terms of fasting).

"Parents and teachers must communicate and find the best way to teach the children the proper process of fasting," she said.

She said this when asked to comment about a message on Twitter, where parents were upset that certain school administration had forced their children, especially Year One pupils, to fast when the children were tired and unable to do so.

Fadhlina, who is also Nibong Tebal member of parliament, was met at an iftar event at the Islamic Centre of the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Engineering Campus here tonight.

Present was USM vice chancellor Professor Datuk Ir Dr Abdul Rahman Mohamed.

Fadhlina explained that, according to the Islamic teaching, it was not obligatory for children who have yet to reach puberty (or sufficient age) to fast, and as such, they could not be forced to do so.

She, however, said there were some children who were ready and able to fast.

"This means that the obligation (to fast) is based on one's own ability. So, this is where the role of the parents come in... and it should start at home.

"Parents need to find ways on how they want to introduce their children to fasting." she added.

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