Parents who plan to enroll their children at maahad tahfiz (religious schools) in the state are advised to conduct background checks on the respective centres. -NSTP/SHARIFAH MAHSINAH SYED ABDULLAH

KUANTAN: Parents who plan to enroll their children at maahad tahfiz (religious schools) in the state are advised to conduct background checks on the respective centres to protect their children from any potential harm.

State Religious Affairs, Education and Health Committee chairman Datuk Seri Syed Ibrahim Syed Ahmad said they could do so by visiting the nearest District Islamic Religious office to get details about the centre and its operations.

According to him, it was important to know if the centre was registered with the religious authorities, and that it had obtained the licence and hired qualified teachers to conduct lessons.

"The subjects, syllabus and curriculum offered, as well as hostel facilities and other aspects have to be looked into. If the premises is not registered with the authorities, then it is operating without permission," he said.

According to Syed Ibrahim, some parents might not give much attention to these factors, as to them, religious education was of utmost importance.

“That should not be the case. Even when we buy something, we obtain information about the product. The same applies here, parents must get proper details and not just send their children to any tahfiz centre for the sake of providing them religious education," he said when contacted today.

Syed Ibrahim said parents should always emphasise on their children's safety especially when they plan to send their children to stay and study at the tahfiz centres.

"It’s their responsibility to ensure their children are in good hands. Prevention is better than cure," he said.

On Nov 7, tahfiz student Mohammah Aimin Nurul Amin, 7, died at the Lanchang health clinic in Temerloh from alleged abuse by his schoolmates.

A female warden at a tahfiz centre in Kampung Kuala Kuang in Lanchang, Temerloh, had gone to wake Aimin up for prayers about 1pm and found him lying in bed, with severe bruises on his body and face.

On Nov 9, the Pahang Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (Muip) ordered the centre to be closed after it was discovered that it had been operating without a permit since early this year.

Pahang police chief Datuk Abdul Jalil Hassan said the death was driven by jealousy as Aimin was the youngest and well-liked by the operators. Three boys, aged 13-years-old, have been remanded till Nov 14 for investigations.

Meanwhile, when asked on plans by the state government to introduce a set of guidelines for some 80 tahfiz centres operating in the state to safeguard the welfare of students, Syed Ibrahim said several brainstorming sessions and field visits had been conducted.

"We have met religious school administrators and presented our views. Usually, the problems occur at centres that operate without permission as they do not know the guidelines.

"But some parents still choose to send their kids to unregistered tahfiz schools. We only realise the centre is not authorised to operate when a problem occurs, " he said.