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Media statement by Tony Pua Kiam Wee in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 19th August 2010:

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is again proving to fail "1Malaysia" with inept handling of the racist remarks by the principal of SMK Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra

Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin punctured the "1Malaysia" euphoria when he went against the Government's official definition of the concept which called for "a nation where, it is hoped, every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as Malaysian first, and by race, religion, geographical region or socio-economic background second" earlier in March this year.

The Deputy Prime Minister had chosen to reject the goal of 1Malaysia, by insisting that he is "Malay first" and subsequently ridiculing the concept of "Malaysian first" by saying "How can I say I'm Malaysian first and Malay second? All the Malays will shun me... and it's not proper."

Now, when the principal of SMK Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, Siti Inshah Mansor is alleged to have uttered completely racist statements during school assembly to young Malaysian students a week ago on the 12 August 2010, Tan Sri Muhyiddin who is also the Minister of Education has chosen to remain elegantly silent on the matter of utmost national importance.

During the National Day celebration launch, she was alleged to have said "Pelajar Cina tidak diperlukan di sini dan boleh pulang ke China atau Sekolah Foon Yew. Kepada pelajar India, rantai keagamaan yang dipakai di leher dan tangan membuatkan mereka kelihatan seperti anjing kerana hanya anjing diikat sebegitu", seriously insulting all Malaysian Chinese and Indians.

Such a statement must be condemned immediately and without reservation for it tantamounts to an attempt to divide Malaysians, and opposes the "1Malaysia" ideals. By choosing to remain silent, Tan Sri Muhyiddin has again demonstrated his reluctance in endorsing the 1Malaysia concept beyond just paying it lip service.

The "1Malaysia" concept is further debased when Tan Sri Muhyiddin's Director-General for Education told the press yesterday that "there is no change, the issue was only a misunderstanding and the problem has been solved between the principal and students," indicating also that the principal will not even be transferred as a punishment.

Malaysians fail to see how the uttering of such a crude and completely insensitive statement could be caused by any "misunderstanding" and see the action by the Ministry of Education as a complete cover up, and an attempt sweep the matter under the carpet.

Deputy Minister of Education, Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong explained in his tweet last night that "the principal is on leave now, she has to face the probe by police. She did apologise to students."

Datuk Dr Wee's explanation invited a repartee from UMNO Youth Chief, Khairy Jamaluddin who tweeted "We cannot drag our feet or prevaricate on things like this. Blatant racism. By a school principal no less. And if proven that she said those things (which I'm told is a certainty) she must be sacked & charged appropriately. She shouldn't be allowed back pending the result of the investigation, which shouldn't have to take long." Khairy is absolutely right in this case, therefore stern and immediate action must be taken to demonstrate that the Government has no room and tolerates no racism, especially in our schools.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin must immediately reprimand the Director-General for Education for claiming that "the problem has been resolved", especially since it is now known that the principal has apologised to the students. He must also demonstrate his commitment to "1Malaysia" by issuing a public condemnation of the principal's actions and mete out the appropriate punishment to her. Otherwise, inaction by the Deputy Prime Minister will show without doubt, his own prejudice against "1Malaysia".

* Tony Pua Kiam Wee, DAP National Publicity Secretary & MP for Petaling Jaya Utara



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