Media Statement by Parliamentary
Opposition Leader and DAP MP for Ipoh Timur Lim Kit Siang in Parliament
on Thursday, 17th January 2008:
The principal of SMK BUD4 should be removed unless she is prepared to
mend her ways, rescind her insensitive decisions and realize her
responsibilities as head of a school in a multi-racial, multi-religious
and multi-cultural Malaysia
My blog on the complaint by a parent against the school principal of SMK
Bandar Utama 4 Damansara for her lack of understanding and respect for
the sensitivities and rights of diverse races, religions, languages and
cultures in plural Malaysia has provoked quite a firestorm of response.
There have been over 200 comments in the three threads on the subject
(1) BU4 Damansara – another case
of “Napoleon” and school principal insensitivity – 72 comments
(2) Hishammuddin sets worst example for sensitivities in plural
Malaysia – 76 comments
(3) More about SMK BUD4 (3) – 58 comments
The complaints of the parent against the school principal, which had
been endorsed by many commentators, were her decisions in imposing in a
school with 85% Chinese and 10% Muslim students “bacaan doa” during
assembly, banning the cheerleading team, no more wearing of shorts for
PE and her directive that for CNY, the school can have a lion dance
performance but without the drum.
In the comments, there have been more criticisms of the school
principal’s insensitive and “Little Napoleonic” ways which are best
summed up in the following email from an alma mater of the school:
“I am writing this e-mail to
you regarding your latest post on my former school, SMK BUD4. What the
parent has written to you is indeed correct. Although I have left BU4
for good but I still do communicate with my friends and teachers of that
school. In fact I still do visit it quite frequently.
“After hearing about these issues about the new principal I felt that I
should play my part as a former student of this school as well. I have a
few additional information I would like to share with you. As
Valentine's Day is drawing near, the Scout Troop of SMKBU4 proposed to
sell cookies for that occasion to gather some funds for our activities
and charity. But to their dismay the Principal rejected the proposal
immediately by the reason that she is a Muslim and does not celebrate
Valentine's Day. As far as I know, Malaysia is a multiracial country.
The government is trying to promote multiracial values but their civil
servant is going against that.
“Besides that, our school holds a Talent Night Event for students to
show off their capability and talent every year. The new principal has
also said that she does not want the event to be held this year. She
told a teacher that if we wanted to attend a contest we can go to the US
or other Western Countries. After hearing this I felt that this
principal has a real narrow mind. I feel sad for her honestly.
“I still remember an incident that happened last year during our
school's PIBG's AGM. As the YDP PIBG stood up to present his speech in
English, a Muslim parent stood up as well but for another reason. He
requested our YDP to speak in Bahasa Melayu as this is Malaysia. I still
remember him saying that the British times are over; every Malaysian
should know how to speak in BM. The parent and a few others insisted on
their stand therefore we had no choice but to ask a teacher to
interprete the text to BM. Well my question is this. Did anyone or any
rule stats that English is not allowed to be used in Malaysia? Even our
government is encouraging the citizens to use english. The Education
Ministry introduced Maths and Science in English.”
I am offering this blog to the school
principal concerned the space and opportunity to reply to the many valid
and legitimate criticisms which have been leveled against her for her
lack of sensitivity and failure to set a role model as head of a school
in plural Malaysia.
The Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and/or Deputy
Education Ministers, Education Ministry big-wigs are also welcome to
this blog to clear the air.
Unless the principal could deny or explain satisfactorily in a
substantive manner the various criticisms directed at her, she should be
removed unless she is prepared to mend her ways, rescind her insensitive
decisions and realize her responsibilities as head of a school in a
multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia.
Kit Siang, Parliamentary
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman