KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — Student activist Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi today condemned the Education Ministry’s investigation over an international school for hosting a student performance on the negative impact of the palm oil industry which had taken place last month.
Asheeq Ali said the ministry should instead focus on making schools and other education institutions a place where one is free to pursue knowledge critically.
“The ministry’s latest measure is evident of the Barisan Nasional culture which reshaped the country’s education system to suppress the people’s thinking.
“If this continues, then there is no difference between the previous and the present administration,” he said in a statement here.
Earlier today Education Director-General Datuk Amin Senin said the ministry viewed anti-palm oil propaganda activities seriously and that the ministry will not compromise with any propaganda and indoctrination in private institutions that tarnish the image and name of the country.
The matter was raised by Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok in Parliament yesterday.
Although Kok did not mention the school in question, checks by the press found that the performance was organised by the International School @ ParkCity.
Asheeq Ali said the ministry should be proud and issue statements commending the school for practicing critical thinking including voicing views on government policies, in this case Kok’s promotion of palm oil.
“They should be proud because the school has presented their criticism towards a government policies which endangers the environment in a good and creative manner through a performance,” he said.
He also singled out Amin for labeling the school’s activity as ‘anti-palm oil propaganda’, questioning that since when did criticising government policies is labeled ‘indoctrination’ and an embarrassment to the country.
“I am urging the ministry to focus towards developing the country’s education system than being ‘subservient’ to politicians to ensure the smoothness of their propaganda.
“I am also urging the ministry and Kok’s ministry to stop investigations into the school and apologise for bringing shame to the school,” he said.