Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 17th August 2010:
If Najib's 1Malaysia is to have real meaning, Siti Inshah should not only be removed from the education service, there should be no place in civil service for other Siti Inshahs
In the Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election in August 2008, the Bukit Bendera Umno chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail referred to the Malaysian Chinese as pendatang, orang tumpang and totally untrustworthy Malaysians.
In February this year, the special officer to the Prime Minister, Datuk Nasir Safar labeled Indians and Chinese in Malaysia as "pendatang", and added insult to injury in declaring that "Indians came to Malaysia as beggars and Chinese especially women came to sell their bodies".
Last Thursday, at the launch of the Merdeka celebrations of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, Kulai, the school principal Hajah Siti Inshah binti Mansor said: "Pelajar-pelajar Cina tidak diperlukan dan boleh balik ke China ataupun Sekolah Foon Yew. Bagi pelajar India, tali sembahyang yang diikat di pergelangan tangan dan leher pelajar nampak seakan anjing dan hanya anjing akan mengikat seperti itu."
The severest disciplinary action must be taken against Siti Inshah, who is clearly unfit to be in the education service of a multi-racial society like Malaysia let alone a school principal - going against the very precepts of the 1Malaysia policy enunciated by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak since April last year.
But what defies the imagination is that Siti Inshah could make such a derogatory, offensive, insensitive and racist statement at an occasion to launch the school's National Day celebrations.
The theme of this year's Merdeka celebrations is "1Malaysia Transforms the Nation".
But how meaningful is Najib's 1Malaysia when school principals like Siti Inshah could show utter contempt for Malaysia's most important and richest asset - a model of ethnic, cultural and biological diversity?
The Ahmad Ismail-Nasir Safar-Siti Inshah incidents are a collective indictment of the failure of the processs of Malaysian nation-building 53 years after Merdeka, bearing testimony as to how apt was the theme of the recent speech of Umno veteran, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah - "We were once Malaysians!"
As Razaleigh rightly reminisced, the heroes of schoolchildren in the 1970s were Soh Chin Aun, R. Arumugam, Isa Bakar, Santokh Singh, James Wong and Mokhtar Dahari - rising completely above race.
The Ahmad Ismail-Nasir Safar-Siti Inshah incidents would have been completely unthinkable in the early decades of national independence as nobody would have thought it possible that a school principal would make the derogatory, offensive, insensitive and racist statements like the one that was made in the Kulai secondary school last Thursday.
What has gone wrong with Malaysian nation-building, 53 years after Merdeka and 47 years after the formation of Malaysia?
This is what should concern the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.
It is clear that the Ahmad Ismail-Nasir Safar-Siti Inshah episodes are not isolated incidents but reflects a deeper national malady contributed no doubt by the communal brain-washings perpetrated by Biro Tata Negara over the decades.
If Najib's 1Malaysia policy is to have real meaning, Siti Inshah should not only be removed from the education service, there should be no place in the public service for other Siti Inshahs.
This is a task the Cabinet tomorrow should put on top of its agenda. Are the Barisan Nasional Ministers equal to the challenge?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor