Education ministry’s tacit approval of racism in schools — Ravinder Singh

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The stand taken by Hashim Adnan, president of the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) and Datuk Mohd Ali Hassan, President of the National Parent-Teacher Association Collaborative Council that the Ministry of Education must issue circulars on racial issues to schools is correct and should be supported by all anti-racism persons.

They were responding to Education Minister II Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh’s defence of the racist things going on in schools by saying that school authorities should rely on their “conscience and moral realisation to know the sensitivities of other races”.

So has he let the cat out of the bag? Does he mean to say that the Education Ministry has all along been in full and tacit support of head-teachers who have been telling non-Malay students to “balik India, balik Cina”; hiding non-Malay children in toilet cafeterias during Ramadan; slaughtering cattle in school compounds in the name of Korban, etc. for these actions (and maybe more) were carried out with full “conscience and moral realisation knowing the sensitivities of other races”.

The two NGO leaders, who happen to be Malay Muslims, are rational enough to see the harm and damage that racism in schools is doing not just to the children, but to the nation itself. Instead of building good, ethnic relationships across the races, the schools that are practicing racism are building walls between the races. Is this what the government wants? Is this the much touted 1Malaysia?

That the education ministry is condoning racism in schools and giving the school heads a license to do what they want, is unacceptable.

Our law, the Penal Code, has a whole chapter on “Offences relating to religion”. According to the Minister’s warped logic, we might as well throw this chapter away and leave matters to the “conscience and moral realisation” of the people at large who should “know the sensitivities of other races”.

I have a question for the Minister: Will you maintain your stand if Chinese schools which  have Malay Muslim students started celebrating their festivals with the slaughtering and roasting of pigs in schools?  Will you keep your peace if Chinese school headmasters started telling their Malay pupils to “balik Indonesia”? Please give honest answers.

* Ravinder Singh reads The Malay Mail Online

** This is the personal opinion of the writer or organisation and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malay Mail Online.

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