What has religion got to do with UPSR?

A member of public called the Civil Rights Committee of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (CRC-KLSCAH) to complain that his child needed to fill in the column religion in the UPSR enrollment form.

Can you tell me what has religion got to do with UPSR?

Ethnic or congregational information are often collected too in the Western countries. Such information is however to identify and reduce social exclusion of the minority groups in most cases. In other cases, such demographic data may be collected to inform medical and public health research.

Academically, I certainly do not rule out that one may also study the relation between religion and academic performance in the way how Max Weber studied the link between Protestantism and capitalism. And I do not believe in political correctness.

Importantly, the collection of ethnic data is voluntary and ethnic category is by self-identification. In other words, if a Caucasian-looking person claims that he is ethnically an African, no one can tell him that he must categorize himself as a White. And he can always opt out and not to give any ethnic identification.

Why do you think Malaysia’ Ministry of Education is collecting information on UPSR candidates’ religious belief? Are they studying any link between religion and academic performance? If so, do they aim to minimize and not engineer social exclusion?

Can the public trust this state which has a shining record in designing, inventing and practicing discriminations?

Do you have faith that ascriptive statistics such as religion and ethnicity will not be passed on to people who make decisions and affect their judgment, in this case, the examiners? Even universities now talk about “anonymous marking” to prevent biases.

I am told that even EPF now asks new members about your religion. What’s their business in this? Do they have representative offices in the heavens and hells of different faiths that we may deal with them after our deaths?

Haris Ibrahim has initiated a “Project Irrelevant” on his People’s Parliament blog as well as on the facebook. Refuse to answer questions on race, religion and gender when they are irrelevant. I did this in my recent dealing with a broadband service provider and a bank. I don’t think they need to know my ethnicity, not that until Malaysia is normatively committed to equality and academic freedom.

While we can individually strike out the ethnicity/race, religion and sex/gender categories and write there “irrelevant”, should we not also compile all the type of forms that ask these “irrelevant” questions?

I have no children and have been registered with EPF many years ago.

If you have the forms, do you mind scan or take a photo of them and send to me


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