Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Set our schools free!

My mailbox has been flooded with emails from people who have expressed their support to me in speaking up against the ban on assemblymen from Pakatan Rakyat by the public schools. There is indeed a circular on this. This circular is so political, yet it is purportedly intended to free schools from politics. I have to squeeze my brain to make sense out of this.

To those who have spoken up, I thank you and it is encouraging to know that there are many brave Malaysians who will not sit around and tolerate irrational policies in order to protect their 'rice bowls'. It is important to note that civil servants' salaries are not paid by Barisan Nasional, they are paid by the many taxpayers in Malaysia. I put my 'rice bowl' aside when I joined the opposition then and decided that I would take the lead in inspiring the young to wake up from their comfort zone and stand up against injustice and corruption in this nation.

Whilst I have received a lot of support from Malaysians who can understand my concerns, I also heard from a certain few who lamented that I am disloyal to my school. Some students and teachers feel that I have caused disgrace to the good name of the school by highlighting this issue in my blog. If I had remained silent just to protect the school, I would have failed miserably as an elected representative for Subang Jaya. People voted for change, people voted for someone who would speak up fearlessly when there are good grounds for speaking up and I am again doing just that.

I am more concerned about what the students are receiving out of a circular like this, the name of the school is secondary. I have to make it clear here - it is not about SMK Subang Utama, it is about the supposedly non-political circular and the directives imposed by the Education Ministry. I am certain there are many other schools who are complying with this. I received another call from a PIBG of a school in USJ asking for some funds for their dinner but I will not be invited formally and that I can attend if I want to but they cannot acknowledge me. I will revisit this incident further down this post.

I have met up with the principal of SMK Subang Utama. An explanation has been sought. They have conveyed to me that they are required to comply with the instructions given by the Education Ministry. I am very glad that my colleague in DAP Tony Pua the Member of Parliament of PJ Utara has said that he would raise this issue in Parliament and I would like to hear our Education Minister's justification for such a circular.

The PIBG (Parent Teacher Association) chairman has also met up with me and I'm glad that they have made a stand on this. This is their stand:-
1) That we do not wish to be involved and caught in any political tussle.
2) We have no objection to prefects who are still studying in SMKSU to attend this reunion function, so long as they get consent from their parents.
3) As the Ex- Head Prefect of SMKSU, we also have no objection for Hannah Yeoh to attend this function.
I have been informed by the organiser that a formal invitation will be extended to me. Justice has been served for the reunion.

As for the circular, would other PIBGs remain silent? That PIBG of the school in USJ has told me that their 'hands are tied'. I wonder where they learned this phrase from. If their hands are tied, what is the need for a PIBG then? To merely organise fund-raising events? Shouldn't parents have a say on school policies?

I am challenging the circular on two grounds:-
a) why was the circular issued only after the General Elections 2008? (date of issuance 31 March 2008)
b) if the motive of the circular is to discourage politicians from using schools as a political platform, then justify why a certain politician is invited to officiate a formal school function recently in Subang Jaya? This person is purely a political figure and not an elected representative anymore. It shouldn't matter what position the politician assumes in the school organization, if the motive of the circular is to discourage politics then he/she should be given the same treatment accorded to everyone else.