Bar one, bar all

Tania Lam

KUCHING: If the reasons for barring Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) lawmakers from speaking at school functions are political in nature, then this should cover all politicians including those from Pakatan Harapan (PH), said Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Islamic Affairs) Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi (pic).

“If there is a clear and definite instruction from the Federal Minister of Education (Dr Maszlee Malik) on barring all state government leaders from being invited to any school functions, the Ministry of Education (MoE) and state Department of Education (DoE) must issue clear reasons behind this instruction,” he said. He was responding to an article on Tuesday (November 12) which said that Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin would seek clarification from Maszlee over an alleged federal government instruction barring GPS lawmakers from speaking at events held in schools in the state.

Dr Abdul Rahman told New Sarawak Tribune that state leaders have always had a cordial relationship and close rapport with the schools in their respective areas all these years.

“Political issues were never brought into our school environment,” he stressed.

He felt that it was “most inappropriate and unbecoming” of a ministry if the federal minister of education imposed his authority to bar Sarawak state leaders to enter school compounds to discharge their solemn duties and help the schools and students.

“Please do not be paranoid and do not politicise education in Sarawak. You may be downgrading our efforts to assist in elevating our local schools’ performance and achievements,” the Pantai Damai assemblyman remarked.

He pointed out that some schools in the state needed concerted and consistent assistance especially those in the rural areas.

“We have rendered assistance to our school administration to carry out academic and extra-curricular activities,” he said, adding that students were constantly encouraged to excel in their studies.

“I do not think the federal minister of Education is willing enough to come down to Sarawak to visit some of these dilapidated schools,” Dr Abdul Rahman stated.

He said that the federal MoE and Department of Education should continue working hand-in-hand with the state government and local leaders for the benefit of schools and students in Sarawak.

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