By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Nov 20: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) information chief Datuk Idris Buang has asserted that the banning of opposition lawmakers from government schools without the Education Ministry’s approval is discriminatory and is against the principle of democracy.
He opined that such a move contravened Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, which states that every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression.
“What is so fearful about opposition elected representatives visiting schools? Are they scared that we will behave like them, trying to do politics in schools while they were in the opposition?
“Where is fairness when only the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) representatives can attend or hold official functions in schools?
“Don’t forget that those choosing opposition representatives are also taxpayers,” said Idris in a statement today in response to the announcement made by Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik in Parliament yesterday.
During his winding-up speech, Maszlee was quoted as saying that “the opposition is not allowed into schools”, adding that opposition lawmakers must get the approval from the respective state education authorities before they are allowed to visit schools.
Idris, who is also Muara Tuang assemblyman, reminded the PH government that the Sarawak government was also helping to repair and upgrade run-down schools in the state.
“Don’t forget that there are many dilapidated schools in Sarawak, and these schools need assistance from state assemblymen and MPs from the opposition, such as Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).
“Don’t forget that we, in GPS as well as the Sarawak government, have been lending a helping hand to ensure that the schools and students get the help they needed.
“This has been the instruction of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who wanted us to act with full responsibility whenever in the face of any call for assistance regarding the needs of schools, which we are told is the top priority, despite the fact that education is always the responsibility of the federal government as stated in the Federal Constitution,” Idris emphasised.
He questioned Maszlee’s sense of fairness and singled out his lack of ability to tackle the real issue plaguing education in the country.
“He (Maszlee) should have been focusing on issues such as upgrading schools in Sarawak, the lack of teachers in certain subjects such as Mathematics and Science, for example, instead of playing politics and creating issues such as the colour of school shoes and socks,” he said. — DayakDaily