KUALA LUMPUR: Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Religious Residential School principal Mohd Zahid Mahmood has vowed to keep the tahfiz school running.
He said the loss of the 23 victims in the blaze last Thursday was a huge blow to the school but it would soldier on.
“For the past 16 years, we have been operating on our own and there is no fee for the students. There are no words to describe (their death),” Mohd Zahid said, adding that he was overwhelmed by the incident.
“Many have asked me if we are planning to shut down. However, we shall continue to serve the public by giving them the education needed, especially those who are poor.
“We do not charge (the parents) a fee since we’ve been operating here. It was only last year that MAIWP ( Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council) saw that we needed help and provided us with a temporary premise while the existing building underwent an extensive renovation.
“The renovation cost RM750,000 and the school is equipped with 24 CCTVs. There is to be one ustaz in a class of 15 students.
“The monthly maintenance is RM25,000 per month. We have never asked for donations, and when we run low on funds, I would plead for a loan and work to sustain.”
He explained the donations received following the blaze will be used for the students’ benefit.
“We had never asked for any donation, but there was an outpouring of grief from the community here. Even those of different religious backgrounds have come forward.
“I am shocked the perpetrators are youngsters. You’d expect them to be the work of adults, or those who are troubled. These youngsters are as if they had lost their minds (tidak waras),” he said, adding that there had not been any complaints from the students about being mocked.
Meanwhile, in KANGAR, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said a new committee was required to coordinate the various private religious schools as the federal government has no intention of meddling into the affairs of state religious authorities.
He said even though a policy on such centres could be established, the authority to take action was up to the respective states, Bernama reported.
Ahmad Zahid was speaking at a media conference after opening the Arau Umno delegates’ conference at Dewan 2000 here yesterday.
He was commenting on the statement of Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid that the ministry was prepared to cooperate and collaborate with state governments on tahfiz (private religious) schools yesterday.