Good sense and good economics demand that we adopt the practical over the doctrinaire edicts. We must find practical solutions to address the problems of economic development.
Point number one. Religiosity forces us to adopt a policy of financing students to take up religious studies. If we do not, then voters will find a pleasurable excuse to bump us off. I say pleasurable, because nowadays, people find it pleasurable to deride UMNO and its policies.
Hence, the institution entrusted to finance students , in the case of Pahang for example, the Yayasan Pahang finds itself saddled with the problem of what to do with the thousands of students passing from the religious establishments. It chooses to adopt the less painful, but doctrinaire friendly, which is financing students to study religion in the middle eastern countries. By adopting such a policy, it conforms to demands of religiosity.
It is of course cheaper to send students to study religion compared to sending a student to study technology abroad. But will that decision stay cheap in the longer run?
The problem develops when these students return to this country. The economy cannot absorb all of them. Existing religious establishments cannot take all of them in. I mean, how many imams can a mosque take in?. How many kadhis can the district religious office take and how many mosques superintendants can district mosques take?
In the end, those not taken in or who are unable to fit in the demands of practical economy, coalesce into volatile social groups. They become freelancing religious proselytisers. They become easy targets to be recruited into the ranks of the ranting wide-eyed mullahs who would one day, blaspheme everyone in power. And the original institution which sent then abroad is not excluded either.
Why are we afraid of religious fanaticism? We are not averse to religion mind you but to religious fanaticism. Because fanaticism can lead to bigotry which in turn leads to all sorts of harshness and uncompromising attitudes. These my friend, are definitely costlier.
So how do we solve this problem? Practical economics require engineers, technicians and those trained in technology. We need those trained in commerce. Prayer incantations are important no doubt. But important also is the turning of screws and lathes which make our modern economy work seamlessly.