Temerloh tahfiz with dead student never sought proper registration

KUANTAN, 9 Nov 2019:

The Pahang Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (MUIP) has confirmed the newly opened tahfiz school in Kampung Kuala Kaung, Lanchang in Temerloh has never applied for operation approval from the council – despite being open since January.

MUIP deputy president Datuk Seri Wan Abdul Wahid Wan Hassan said a closure order was issued to the school today, following the death of a seven-year-old student two days ago.

He said a visit by MUIP to the school run by a married couple revealed it has 14 other students, 10 of them commuted daily.

“We also find out that the centre does not meet the requirements and criteria required to operate a tahfiz school including in terms of security.

“In fact, if a tahfiz school wants to take in seven-year-old students, it must comply with other requirements as these children are still too young to care for themselves.”

Wan Abdul Wahid was responding on the death of Mohammad Aimin Nurul Amin, 7, who was pronounced dead at a clinic after he was found in weak condition at the tahfiz school on Thursday.

He was found with bruises in several parts of his body. It was understood he was sent there along with his stepbrother since mid-October.

Following the death, police have remanded three other students, all aged 13, to assist in the investigation under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder, which carries a mandatory death sentence if convicted.

Apart from the school having failed to meet the requirement, Wan Abdul Wahid said the credibility and credentials of the sole teacher at the centre could also be questioned.

He said action to close any unregistered tahfiz school in Pahang would come into force next year – taking into account the safety and the wellbeing of students.

He also hoped tat the public would not simply donate their land as waqf to any individual who wished to open a tahfiz school because this will worsen the issue of unregistered schools.

“If anyone has the intention to start a tahfiz school, please inform and submit the waqf to MUIP as it will be better managed by the council.”

Jealousy is believed to be the cause of a quarrel among students at a tahfiz centre in Lanchang, Temerloh near here, which ended with the death of seven-year-old Mohammad Aimin.

Pahang police chief Datuk Abd Jalil Hassan said the victim was understood to be receiving more attention from the couple who operated the tahfiz centre.

“The victim, who is the youngest student there, is also known to be friendly and affectionate with the couple, and is believed to have caused jealousy among the other students, leading to a quarrel.”

Abd Jalil said an autopsy at Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Hospital in Temerloh yesterday confirmed Mohammad Aimin’s death was due to blunt force trauma to his chest and abdomen.

He said three 13-year-old tahfiz students detained to assist with investigations into Mohammad Aimin’s death have been remanded until next Thursday.

Mohammad Aimin was reported to have died while receiving treatment at the Lanchang Health Clinic in Termerloh at 1.20pm on Thursday.

Mohammad Aimin was taken to the clinic by the wife of the tahfiz centre operator, who found the victim in a weakened state when she went to wake the victim up for zohor prayers.

Initial checks revealed there were bruises on the body of the victim, who was believed to be sent to the tahfiz centre with his stepbrother.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said a holistic approach should be taken in regulating and supervising tahfiz school operations in the country.

To address the issue effectively, she said related laws would have to be tightened in ensuring tahfiz centres are registered so that parents could identify the approved schools.

“We will look into a holistic approach to the management and implementation of these centres as they have different governance practices and organisational structure.

“We need to enhance monitoring and we should not leave this to the authorities alone. Those intending to send their children to tahfiz schools must at least check first if the centre is registered or suitable and cooperate with us so that we are aware,” she told reporters when met after the Maulidur Rasul 1441H/2019 celebration at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil, here today.

Meanwhile Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa urged parents to be more alert when choosing tahfiz centres to ensure the safety of their children.

He said most importantly parents should make sure the centre is registered.

“Parents must be made aware that it is important for the schools to be registered. When the schools are registered they will have to comply with regulations and we are aware of the syllabus, teaching staff and its management.

“Parents make the selection. If they are just looking for a dumping ground to leave their children …eventually the institution of tahfiz schools will no longer be respected.”

He said not all tahfiz centres have a bad record and parents should be concerned about the welfare, safety and educational aspects.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad when met by reporters at the ceremony said results of the autopsy would be known soon.

– Bernama