KUCHING, Dec 4 — Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Chong Chieng Jen today denied that the state and federal lawmakers from the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) are prohibited from visiting schools on official business.
He said they can visit after the state Education Department has given permission to the principals and headmasters to allow any lawmaker to enter the schools.
“Such rule also applies to the PH lawmakers who want to visit the schools,” Chong, who is also the Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, said when denying claims by some GPS lawmakers that they have been banned from entering schools.
He said many GPS and Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) lawmakers have been granted permission to enter schools over the past one year.
“There were 515 permissions granted to GPS and PSB lawmakers compared to 170 permissions granted to state PH lawmakers to enter schools to officiate events,” he said.
He reminded GPS that the PH lawmakers were totally banned from entering schools when the Barisan Nasional was in power.
“I had personally been invited by a Parents-teachers’ Association (PTA), but the invitation was cancelled at the last minute because of the mere fact that I was then an Opposition lawmaker,” he recalled.
Chong, who is also the Sarawak DAP chairman, said barring the entry of PH lawmakers by the Barisan Nasional government was not only happening in Sarawak, but also in other states, like Penang and Selangor.
“The PH federal government does not impose any prohibition against the Opposition state assemblymen and members of parliament.
“This is a stark difference compared to the time of BN government which did not allow the Opposition elected representatives to enter the schools,” Chong said.
He claimed the GPS leaders had brought party flags and gave political speeches when officiating the PTAs events, treating schools as their political platforms.
He said the PH federal government will not allow party flags to be brought in at PTAs events or for any lawmakers, either from GPS or PH, to make political speeches.
He said schools should not be used by any political party to do their campaigning or to make political speeches.