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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

‘Education Ministry should stop all the nonsense’



Education Ministry officials should stop being little Napoleons by banning government school headmasters and teachers from attending events not held by the ministry.
The recent incident involving the staff of SJK (C) Tiong Nam Sungai Buaya clearly shows that ministry officials have become partisan in the country’s politics.
They have no business in banning any schools from participating in events organised by state governments, be it under Pakatan Harapan or Barisan Nasional.
This incident has not only riled Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah and the school’s parent-teacher association (PIBG) president, Phan Ching Hock, but most of us as parents who read about the ban are equally disturbed by the action by Kuala Langat District Education Department’s inquiries and complaints assistant, Mohd Noor Leza Mansor.
Rude and clueless about protocols
Instead of hiding behind some blanket policy, Noor Leeza should explain to the public why he had instructed the headmaster and teacher not to attend events that are not organised by the Education Ministry.
On what basis did he ban the headmaster and school staff from attending the ceremony when it concerned the school’s very own expansion programme?
This is very rude of him as he did not even understand that there are protocols in place, when the event involved a very important person (VIP) who is none other than a state exco member, who officially represented the Selangor sultan in handing over of the 3-acre land.
Ean Yong did not certainly give away the land in his personal capacity. He was a state representative, carrying the sultan’s endorsement and a senior administrative officer in the state government.
According to protocol, in such an official event, the headmaster should be present as he is officially the head of the school. In fact, the Education Ministry should send its officials to attend the ceremony out of respect for the Sultan of Selangor, if not the Selangor government.
What if the minister himself had visited the school and the headmaster chose to be absent? Would he be happy to be entertained by the PIBG president and not the headmaster?
The minister should stop such partisan politics within his ministry. In politics, the minister and Ean Yong may be in different camps, but the minister should give due respect to the sultan who appointed Ean Yong as a state exco member of Selangor.
Even when the Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak calls a meeting with the menteris besar and chief ministers, both Azmin Ali and Lim Guan Eng would attend to represent their states.
Mahadzir should realise that even Najib and former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim could meet together for a cup of tea, so why did he allow district education officers in the likes of Mohd Noor Leza to decide what the school staff can or cannot attend?
Parents’ disgust
As parents, we are also standing with school PIBG president who had to represent the school to receive the document.
Phan is correct in pointing out that the Education Ministry should not have politicised the matter beyond one’s imagination.
Because of this, parents like me are expressing our disgust even though we are not from the school. We are very disappointed over the way how Noor Leza had handled the invitation to attend the ceremony which was, in fact, organised by the Selangor government.
As land is still a state matter, the Education Ministry should have expressed its gratefulness to the state for providing precious land for the education of our young ones, unless of course if we have state education officers who are more interested in playing partisan politics instead of being concerned about the welfare of our children’s education.
The Selangor government was kind enough to gazette three acres of land for the Banting school. What Education officers do we have that teach Malaysians not to be grateful over the piece of land given to the school by the state?
In fact, Ean Yong was present at the ceremony in his official capacity as a state exco member and not a member of a political party.
It would have been a different scenario if the school headmaster and staff had been invited to a ceramah by the DAP. The headmaster can apply for permission to attend, but not in his official capacity.

With this, I therefore urge all parents and sensible Malaysians to stand up together and stop the double standards that we see being practised by our civil servants who are trying to please their political masters.

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008.- Mkini

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