KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail led a delegation of ministers, deputy ministers, and lawmakers today to visit SMK Pusat Bandar Puchong (1) this evening, following alleged complaints against its Chinese New Year decoration.
Those present included Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, Communications Minister and Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, de facto religious minister Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa, and Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Xavier Jeyakumar.
Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching also attended the visit, with the acting education minister yet to be appointed.
The ministers also took turns signing several Chinese lanterns that were sponsored by the Kinrara state assemblyman Ng Sze Han, who was also in attendance.
Earlier this week, Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) vice-president Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz threatened legal action against the school for supposed excessive Chinese New Year decorations, which he said had upset several Muslim parents.
However, Dr Wan Azizah said such polemics should not have been brought up in the first place.
“Why this was made an issue I have no idea,” Dr Wan Azizah told reporters at the school. “This is a cultural celebration.”
“What we’re seeing here is an issue made out of something which shouldn’t have even been brought up. We in the government want to promote unity in a nation that is multicultural and is diverse in religion and race.
“So don’t let things like this break us up and I urge all parties not to create disharmony in the nation,” she added.
Dr Wan Azizah also said she will leave it to police to decide whether there will be any action against those who supposedly complained against the decoration.
On Monday, lawyer Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, who is also vice-president of the fledgling Putra, threatened to file a police report against SMK Pusat Bandar Puchong (1) in Pusat Bandar Puchong for its “religious” Chinese New Year decoration.
The lawyer claimed the decoration to be “unconstitutional”. He further claimed that Muslim parents had complained about the decoration, which they see as an attempt to propagate a non-Islam religion to students.
Despite his and the purported parents’ claim, the Chinese New Year is not a religious celebration, and is also celebrated by Muslims in the Chinese community. Nor did the decorations contain any religious elements.
Most recently, the lawyer had challenged the constitutionality of vernacular schools in the country.