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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Muhyiddin must step down as Education minister over racism

IF THE SCHOOL HEADS HAVE APOLOGISED, IT MEANS THAT THEY HAVE MADE THE RACIST REMARKS, NO NEED FURTHER INVESTIGATION, JUST SACK THEM, SO THAT IN FUTURE NOBODY WILL MAKE ANY RACIST REMARKS.


Malaysia Chronicle

Calls are growing for Deputy Prime Minister Muhyddin Yassin to take responsibility and quit as Education minister after two headmistresses at opposite ends of the peninsula uttered racist remarks that shocked the nation.

“These are very serious incidents. They are known as crimes of hate. But Muhyiddin is not doing anything because he is only interested in wearing his political hat, not his educationist hat,” Pantai Jerejak assemblyman Sim Tze Tsin told Malaysia Chronicle.

“As concerned parents and citizens, we must push for deterrent action. Something must be done to arrest the rot. Racism has not only taken root, it is rampant when you have leaders like Mahathir Mohamad openly promoting it in the name of defending Malay rights. And when the Education minister is also known for his racial stance, how can you blame the Malay teachers for following his example.”

Indian-dog, Chinese-go-home

The brouhaha in Malaysia’s fast-sinking education system began last week after a Johor school principal made offensive comments in a speech to mark the Merdeka or Independence celebrations in her school.

“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.”

“Chinese students are not needed and can go back to China or Foon Yew School. As for the Indian students, the prayer strings that they wear around their wrists and necks make them look like dogs and only dogs are chained up like that.”

A few days later in northern Kedah state, a headmistress told Chinese pupils to go back to China after she found them eating - on the basis that they were disrespecting the fasting month of Ramadan. However, non-Muslims are not required to fast during Ramadan.

She has since apologized to the parents but she has not been suspended. Neither has her northern colleague, Siti Inshah Mansor, who has instead launched a fight-back with a Facebook page Sokong Cikgu Puan Hajah Siti Mangsa Politik or Support Siti Inshah a political victim.

Meanwhile, despite the hail of criticism, Muhyiddin has retreated into deafening silence after ordering a special task-force to investigate the incidents. The 63-year old career politician was Johor chief minister from 1986 to 1995. His tenure there was marked by scandal and allegations of corruption but Mahathir Mohamad, the prime minister then, continued to favour him.

Don't contaminate society, especially the young

Muhyiddin was transferred to the federal Cabinet as Minister of Youth and Sports (1995–1999), Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (1999–2004), Minister of Agriculture (2004–2008) and Minister of International Trade and Industry (2008–2009).

With strong backing from Mahathir, who had by then retired but still wielded tremendous clout, Muhyiddin was made the Deputy Prime Minister and also Education minister when Najib Razak took over as the country’s 6th Prime Minister in April 2009.

So far, Muhyiddin's track record has been lackluster. Of late the DPM has been keeping himself in the spotlight, sparking speculation of a growing power tussle with Najib. But while Najib has promoted a multiracial platform with his 1Malaysian plan, Muhyiddin has chosen to stand in Mahathir’s corner.

Of late, Muhyiddin has not only publicly slammed the PM's policies, he has also begun to don the racial and religious mantle favoured by Mahathir when the latter ruled Malaysia from 1981 to 2003. Muhyddin’s most famous quote since becoming DPM is that he is Malay first, Malaysian second. On further needling he said, "How can I say I’m Malaysian first and Malay second? All the Malays will shun me…”

Muhyiddin has also actively defended Umno newspaper Utusan despite its blatant use of racism to rile up its mostly Malay readers, closing his eyes to the dangers of igniting crimes of hates. Muhyiddin also defended the courses conducted by Biro Tata Negara or the National Civics Bureau that have been blamed for brainwashing generations of Malay civil servants and university students into an apartheid and seige mentality.

“Without a doubt, Muhyiddin must make it clear where he stands. If he wants to be a racist, no one can stop him. But he must down step as Education minister. He must not be allowed to hold a position where he can contaminate society especially our children with his type of thinking," PKR vice president Lee Boon Chye told Malaysia Chronicle.

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