SINGAPORE: On Monday ( Feb 5 ), Parliament passed changes to the laws that would improve the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore’s ( MUIS ) ability to oversee all Muslim religious schools.
MUIS will be permitted to take enforcement action against any of these schools that are unregistered under the amendments to the Administration of Muslim Law Act ( AMLA ).
Additionally, a description of Muslim religious institutions will be provided, and MUIS officers will have the authority to inspect schools.
Masagos Zulkifli, the minister in charge of Muslim affairs, said the changes will guarantee that Islamic religious education in Singapore is provided by accredited institutions and asatizah ( religious teachers ) with the necessary qualifications. He tabled the Bill for a second reading.
The concept of such establishments has never been prescribed in laws, according to Mr. Masagos, despite AMLA’s assertion that it is the responsibility and function of MUIS to oversee all Muslim religious schools in Singapore.
In advising our Muslim group on the process of Islam in a contemporary and multireligious society, this will uphold the integrity of our spiritual sector, he continued.
According to the new amendments, a Muslim religious institution can be defined as any person or group that “habitually” imparts Muslim instruction to 10 or more people who are physically present in Singapore, or as an area where these people are regularly given Islamic education.
A correspondence school is defined as the location or locations where Muslim instruction is determined or where answers are examined or corrected when it is offered to 10 or more people who are physically manifest in Singapore.
Muhamad Faisal Manap ( WP- Aljunied ), a member of parliament, expressed his party’s support for the modifications in his speech but questioned how the number of 10 or more people was determined.
In response, Mr. Masagos stated that in order to ensure consistency and in line with the “broad knowing” of what a college is defined as in other congressional acts.
Dr. Syed Harun , a member of parliament, was nominated by Taha Alhabsyi, who also sought clarification on the purpose of including an individual in the description of Muslim religious schools given that such spiritual training may be provided privately within the family.
In his final remarks, Mr. Masagos stated that” I would like to understand that this article aims to better manage Islamic religious training in Singapore,  , particularly religious institutions or other individuals and entities that provide spiritual instruction.”
The personal and individual exchange of spiritual beliefs and opinions between people, friends, family members, or coworkers is not intended to be regulated.
Mr. Masagos continued by saying that only those who have received certification from MUIS’ Asatizah Recognition Scheme may teach Muslim knowledge in Singapore.
According to the Islamic Education Centres and Providers ( IECP ) program, Muslim religious schools must also be registered with MUIS. These IECPs are required to post their learning materials and school curriculum for “quality assessments” and verification.
In order to guarantee “quality schooling,” MUIS also conducts “periodic reviews” on these organizations and their instructors, he added.