SJKC boards to appeal for review of MoE decision

Jonathan Chai Voon Tok

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Nov 30: The Federation of the Boards of Management of Aided Chinese Primary Schools Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Division will appeal to the Ministry of Education (MoE) to review the latest decision of restricting opposition state elected representatives and minister from attending functions and events in all schools.

Its secretary general Jonathan Chai emphasised that the new directive will put the school boards of management and state Education Department in very difficult position.

“The latest directive would place the school boards and state Education Department in an awkward position.

“When an opposition representative makes contribution to a school, it is normal practice of the school board to invite the elected representative concerned as a gesture to acknowledge his or her contribution.

“So we will appeal to MoE to review the decision while at the same time, we will follow the directive by applying for permission if we are inviting opposition leaders to attend our school events,” he told DayakDaily today.

The MoE has recently decided that ministers and elected representatives of opposition states including Sarawak needed to apply to the state Education Department to obtain permission to attend functions in all primary and secondary schools.

In a circular with reference number JPNSW.SPS.PP.100-1/7, the MOE stated that on Sept 11, 2019, the federal cabinet has decided that all projects and programmes of the federal government in all opposition states including Sarawak, has to be officiated by the federal government whether by the cabinet, chief secretary, members of Parliament (MPs) or federal department heads.

Following the federal cabinet decision, MoE insisted that schools’ official invitation letters must be sent through or be carbon-copied to state Education Department. All uncertainties faced by schools will also needed to be referred to state Education Department.

The circular also stated that whenever “outsiders” are invited including opposition ministers or elected representatives, prior permission must be obtained from state MoE.

Chai pointed out that ideally, members from both political divides should cooperate and work together in the interest of the students and community, especially in area of education.

“A breath of fresh air is much needed for our nation and education issues should not be politicised in the interest of this country,” he stressed.

Personally, Chai was of the view that the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government should adopt a more open and “gentleman” approach in the wake of shaping a “New Malaysia”.

“I understand that under the previous administration, opposition members were not allowed to enter schools for any function. Hopefully, the new government would not adopt an antagonistic stance or vengeful approach in dealing with education issues.

“Any wrong done or bad policy formulated by the previous government should not be repeated by the new government,” he added.— DayakDaily