KUCHING, Jan 8: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii urged the Education Ministry to investigate the issue of Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) threatening a public school over what it claimed to be ‘religious’ Chinese New Year decoration.
Dr Yii called for authorities to take action against extremists and bigots to prevent similar incidents from happening.
“The Education Ministry must launch an inquiry into this episode and set a proper guideline so no one will succumb to such baseless threats anymore.
“The authorities should also come down on these extremists regardless of race or background.
“Schools should be a place to foster understanding, tolerance and respect. They should not be held ransom by bigots and extremists in our society,” said Dr Yii in a statement.
Putra vice president Mohd Khairul Abdul Aziz, a lawyer by profession, has been reported to threaten SMK Pusat Bandar Puchong 1 to take down its Chinese New Year decorations or face legal action.
He claimed that the decoration was “unconstitutional” and that there were complaints from parents who saw it as an attempt to propagate non-Islamic religions.
Dr Yii held that such incident should not have any place in multiracial and multicultural country like Malaysia.
“It is highly regrettable that there are certain quarters in our country that are so insecure and deliberately choose to spread fear and divisive sentiments in our country.
“Their arguments that festive decorations in any public place, be it for Hari Raya, Chinese New Year or Deepavali or any other festive occasions, is unconstitutional is unfounded and therefore not legally binding.
“Thus I regret the actions of the principal who gave in to the threats of such extremists, as the school should not have taken heed of Putra’s baseless threats and maintain the said decorations.
“I have yet to hear of anyone forcing their religion upon anyone else on such festive occasions and I highly doubt that the said decorations contain any religious elements and were merely decorative in nature.”
He opined that for so long, Malaysians have enjoyed these festive occasions together as a people and such a tradition must continue.
“It is time for us to build bridges between races in this country at a time when racial tension seems to be at an all-time high,” said Dr Yii. —DayakDaily