Media Statement (2) by Parliamentary
Opposition Leader and DAP MP for Ipoh Timur Lim Kit Siang in Parliament
on Wednesday, 16th January 2008:
Never before in the 50-year history of Malaysia have there been more
“Little Napoleons” who have become school principals and administrators
who lack the most elementary understanding and respect for the rights
and sensitivities of diverse races, religions, languages and cultures of
I have received and put on my blog another complaint by a parent against
a school principal – of SMK Bandar Utama 4 Damansara - about the lack of
understanding and respect for the sensitivities and rights of diverse
races, religions, languages and cultures in plural Malaysia which are
the real assets of the country.
It is most shocking that the never before in the 50-year history of
Malaysia have there been more “Little Napoleons” who have become school
principals and administrators who lack the most elementary understanding
and respect for the rights and sensitivities of diverse races,
religions, languages and cultures of plural Malaysia.
This letter from a parent complaining about the principal of SMK Bandar
Utama 4 Damansara reads:
“I would like to bring to your
attention, the latest happening in SMK Bandar Utama 4 Damansara (near
Ikano Power Centre). This school has about 85% of its students who are
Chinese. Its first HM is a Chinese and followed by a Malay lady. All
this while, the school has a proud tradition of good old days where
students can wear shorts for PE lesson, celebration of major Chinese
festival like Chinese New Year, cheerleading team and secular school
type of school assembly.
“Unfortunately, all these good times are gone with the coming of a new
Malay headmistress who is a religious bigot. With 10% Muslim students,
she is now imposing ‘bacaan doa’ during assembly, banning of the
cheerleading team, no more wearing of shorts for PE and the worst of all
is that for the coming CNY, the school can have a lion dance performance
but WITHOUT the DRUM.
“This is really absurd because the Chinese drums are very noisy. How can
a minority group in the school impose their values on the majority group
- another case of insensitivity among the Muslims?”
There have been over 40 comments
since the blog went up this morning, including instances of
insensitivity in other schools, such as a complaint from a parent whose
son is in a primary school in Kulim.
The parent was incensed at a printout of the personal particulars sent
out by his son’s teacher asking parents to verify.
He was very surprised at the “religion” category, as there are only two
choices - Muslim and Non-Muslim.
He asked: “So what does that mean? My religion is non-Muslim. I have a
name for my religion, why can’t (they) put more choices?”
The parent wanted to know whether this format was drafted by the school
or the education ministry – an answer all Malaysians are also awaiting.
Is the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein setting the
proper role model for teachers and students as an exemplary Malaysian
fully respectful of the sensitivities and rights of the diverse races,
religions, languages and cultures which is the asset and pride of the
country – as to be advertised internationally as “Truly Asia”?
For a start, Hishammuddin should set an example as an exemplary
Malaysian and Education Minister by making amends and apologise for his
insensitive, divisive and incendiary “keris-waving” episodes in the past
two UMNO Youth general assemblies – setting the worst possible example
to teachers and students on respect for sensitivities and rights for
diverse races, religions, languages and cultures in plural Malaysia.
Kit Siang, Parliamentary
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman