Directive to wear baju kurung: Unlike MCA, DAP will not compromise on the issue

Media Statement
by Kerk Kim Hock

(Melaka, Wednesday): At a press conference arranged by the MCA two days ago, the school principal of Sekolah Menengah Infant Jesus Covent, Datin Rahimah Ghazali, clarified that the measure requiring all students to wear baju kurung on every Friday was not a compulsory directive.

MCA leader Datuk Gan Boon Leong urged the parents not to be worried since the directive was not compulsory and the students could decide whether to wear baju kurung.

I am shocked that Datuk Gan and his entourage of leaders who had gone to meet the principal had decided to compromise on the issue, instead of insisting that the directive be withdrawn.

The crucial question is not whether the directive is being implemented in a compulsory manner or by persuasion or encouragement. The issues are that the not only the reason for the directive is unacceptable, the directive itself is tantamount to hijacking the national education system revealed by the Prime Minister.

Such a measure, which does not respect the sensitivity of the other communities, will certainly be perceived and seen as an attempt to turn the school into a Malay school. This has certainly deviated from the original objective of why national schools are set up –to cater to all races.

Hence, DAP wall not compromise on the issue and we deplore the compromise that the MCA leaders have made.

If a wrong measure can be accepted merely on the ground that it is to be carried out by encouragement only , what is MCA’s stand if an extreme principal, using religious ground, encourages non-Malay students not to wear shorts when playing games or even not to play games?

If the principal does not withdraw the measure, I will bring the matter up in the March Parliament. I will call on the Prime Minister to take the necessary disciplinary action against anyone found to commit acts which tantamount to hijacking of the national school system.

I hope that the Prime Minister, who is presently chairing the Committee to review the national education system, will treat such hijacking by the school principal with the utmost seriousness.


* Kerk Kim Hock, DAP Secretary General and MP for Kota Melaka