Wednesday, August 13, 2008


It can only happen in Malaysia. A history teacher from SMK Telok Panglima Garang repeatedly utters racial, derogatory and unprintable slurs against Indian students. Instead of immediately sacking the teacher, the Education Department and Ministry Of Education condones her disgraceful behaviour and rewards her with a transfers to a smart school located near her house. The reason stated in her letter of transfer was that she was being transferred due to concerns for her security. So teachers (and other government servants) there you have it, fancy a transfer? Just spew racial profanities at a minority race and preferably Indians and you are assured of a transfer to premier (smart) school or another department others can only dream off.

Rightfully, the racist teacher should not only have been sacked but the police should have simultaneously proceeded to charge her. Her so called apology ought not to absolve her from her action, instead her apology should only mitigate her punishment. In this case her apology has turned into an unexpected reward.

In condoning her action and even worst adding insult to injury by rewarding her, perhaps the government must now understand why Chinese and Indians have deserted national schools. Now even the Malays are clamoring for places in Chinese schools.

While it may be wrong to tar all the teachers with the same brush and think all Malay teachers are racist, but teachers such as her and incidents such as these are no more isolated cases. What parents expect of a teacher is to teach. Nothing more and nothing less. Some teachers like the one from SMK Telok Panglima Garang however find that a difficult task. Non Malay parents simply do not wish to send their children to be taught by racist minded, ideologically deranged and intellectually bankrupt teachers.

It is no secret that national schools are no more the first choice for Chinese and Tamils. That is sad. National schools were established after merdeka with the objective and hope that children of all races could integrate freely, Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction and a common syllabus to promote national unity. Unfortunately, over the years, national schools have evolved, changed and acquired an image of Malay school with Islamic orientation and emphasis.

For the Chinese, Chinese schools have long being the school of choice to educate their children. It is estimated that just 1 out of 20 Chinese parents send their children to national schools and there is a tremendous demand for a place in Chinese schools. Add to that statistics is that more than 60,000 non Chinese are now studying in Chinese schools.

Chinese parents are convinced beyond belief that Chinese schools provide quality education, not to mention that they are assured that no teacher is going to call their children “babi” or “balik Cina”. Many parents have said the reason why they did not choose national schools is because in national schools there is a greater emphasis and priority on frivolous matters like ensuring students wear long trousers for physical activities or making students address the headmistress “Bonda” (there is actually a premier girls school in Johor Bahru where the headmistress require the students to address her as “Bonda”). Then there is an over emphasis on Islam over other religion and instilling moral values which are not universal values but often values of a single community. Classes are often segregated with the excuse that they are done for convenience sake and activities and celebrations are usually of one race. There have been instances where some school even prevented non Muslim children from bringing cooked food from home or even discouraged non Muslim pupils from wearing crucifix or putting holy ash on the forehead. Children who enter national schools innocent, unhurried by pretensions and untainted by prejudices, leave school imbedded with racist bigotry, religious supremacy and closed mind. It is safe to say polarization starts from school and that sadly does not augur well for the future of this country.

There is also a perception that many of the teachers in national schools are unmotivated and teaching was actually their last choice. The real attraction is actually the short hours and the long holidays. A retired senior lecturer from a Teachers Training College in Johor Bahru once lamented that education has not gone to the dogs but dogs have come to education.

How times have changed. When I went to school almost all my teachers were Malays and they had a tremendous passion for teaching. They had only one desire- teach and teach they did with zeal and passion. In their eyes we were not a Malay, Chinese or an Indian. We were simply pupils. One teacher I remember with great fondness, Cikgu Maimunah, although was suffering from cancer hardly took leave even in her final days of her life. Her 35 Non Malays and 2 Malays pupils mattered more than her health. More importantly, never once did any teacher utter any racial slurs against any student. Sadly these are teachers of a bygone era.

Teachers in Chinese schools are extremely dedicated and motivated to teach. There is a real zeal to ensure that the students study and perform well in their examination. I know of teachers from Chinese schools who sacrifice their weekends particularly when exams near by giving free tuition to their students. Would a teacher from a national type school be prepared to sacrifice their weekends giving extra tuition and even worst to give free tuition? Now you can understand why former students of Chinese schools donate generously to their alma matter.

While Chinese schools have long been a choice of education for Chinese parents, in recent years, there has been a growing trend for even Indians to send their children to Tamil schools. Tamil schools have made good and steady progress in national examination such as the UPSR. A recent survey by the Ministry of Education reveals that only 4% of Indian parents are sending their children to national schools compared to 53% who send their children to Tamil schools. The only problem faced by Indian parents is that unlike the Chinese whose children can later proceed to Chinese Secondary schools, there are no Tamil secondary school, thus inevitably Indian students will have to return to national schools for their secondary education. In national schools some teachers just like the one from SMK Telok Panglima Garang prey on Indian students spewing filth and profanities

Incidents such as the one which befell on the Indian students of SMK Telok Panglima Garang can only fortify non Malay resolute to give national schools a miss. So unless the the government and Ministry of Education can send the right message that they do not condone or support behaviour and antics of racist teachers and prove it by not only sacking such teachers but also ensuring that they are also charged in court, Chinese and Tamil schools will become school of first choice. Parents would not want children coming home crying that the teacher called them “keling or ”babi”.


  1. Sir, for your information, SJK (T) Mak Manding is a great school with extremely dedicated Indian teachers who also made sacrifices of giving extra classes. Located right next door to low cost flats, I can see from the weekend when I passed over, the school has always been busy organising extra classes with supporting parents ferrying their kids to attend the additional session. Great jobs and great dedication for the Indian teachers too. I am a non Indian but this school certainly earned my respect.

  2. National schools have become a place to glorify Arabic/Malay culture and religion. Other cultures and religions treated like dirt.

    Then they complaint non-malays are racist because their children are sent to vernacular schools.

    Don't they realise UiTM is racist. All MARA residential schools are racist and divide Malaysia society.

  3. Kalau sudah sekolah berasingan masakan terbentuk perpaduan tulen.

    Semasa hadir pada sesi taklimat untuk kemasukan anak saya ke tahun satu di Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Sri Pulai, Daerah Kulai, Johor baru-baru ini, setiap ibubapa telah diedarkan senarai nama-nama murid-murid tahun satu 2008 yang akan masuk ke sekolah tersebut.

    Saya perhatikan dari sejumlah lebih kurang 300 nama murid tahun satu itu tidak ada seorang pun dari kalangan murid keturunan Cina. Ini sungguh menghairankan saya, walaupun bagi setengah orang fenomena ini mungkin tidak begitu penting, malah tidak ada siapa pun yang saya lihat mempersoalkan perkara ini, tetapi kepada saya ia suatu yang amat merisaukan dan mengganggu fikiran saya.

    Perkara tidak ada murid keturunan Cina yang masuk ke sekolah ini pada tahun 2008 ini membuatkan saya tertanya-tanya. Mungkin ia tidak menjadi pelik kalau penduduk yang tinggal di kawasan sekolah ini tidak ada kaum Cina. Yang jelasnya lebih 20 peratus penduduk di kawasan ini dihuni oleh kaum Cina.

    Kenapa agaknya kaum Cina tidak berminat untuk masuk ke sekolah kebangsaan? Kalau nak dikatakan sekolah jenis kebangsaan Cina lebih baik prestasinya berbanding sekolah kebangsaan sebagai alasan mereka tidak berminat hendak menghantar anak ke sekolah kebangsaan, telahpun diketahui umum Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Sri Pulai ini adalah sekolah yang terbaik dari segi pencapaian akademiknya di Daerah Kulai ini.

    Kalau sekolah kebangsaan yang terbaik pun mereka tidak berselera hendak menghantar anak-anak mereka, apalagi dengan sekolah kebangsaan yang lain-lain itu. Padahal sekolah jenis kebangsaan Cina yang paling dekat dengan Taman Sri Pulai ini terletak tidak kurang dari enam kilometer jauhnya, tapi mereka masih sanggup hantar anak-anak ke sana berbanding sekolah kebangsaan yang hanya terletak di depan rumah mereka sahaja.

    Tidakkah kita sedar kesan dari pengasingan sekolah mengikut kaum ini sangat besar kepada keutuhan perpaduan masyarakat majmuk negara kita ini. Perpaduan seharusnya dipupuk dari peringkat kanak-kanak lagi. Melentur biarlah dari rebung, saya tidak nampak semangat perpaduan dapat dipupuk melalui ucapan-ucapan dan slogan-slogan sahaja.

    Perpaduan harus dihayati dalam kehidupan sebenar, pada semua peringkat dan mesti bermula dari peringkat kanak-kanak lagi.

    Mungkin kepada orang politik apa yang mereka maksudkan perpaduan itu bila tidak ada pergaduhan antara kaum dan ada persefahaman dalam pembahagian tender projek kerajaan antara parti-parti komponen. Oleh itu saya tidak hairan kalau orang politik tidak risau langsung dengan isu tidak ada murid Cina di Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Sri Pulai ini, kerana memang tidak ada berlaku pergaduhan kaum pun di situ.

    Kalau orang politik benar-benar faham maksud perpaduan tentulah kes yang saya timbulkan di sini (tidak adanya murid Cina di tahun satu di Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Sri Pulai) sudah menjadi isu yang sangat besar dan penting kepada mereka.

    Kalau sekali pun kaum Cina terpaksa menghantar anak-anak mereka ke sekolah jenis kebangsaan Cina kerana hendakkan anak-anak mereka dapat belajar tulisan dan bahasa Cina atau pun atas-atas sebab lain, takkan lah tidak ada jalan penyelesaiannya selain dari mengasingkan sekolah anak-anak mereka. Nampaknya mereka sanggup mengorbankan perkara yang lebih penting iaitu perpaduan yang sebenar dari mencari penyelesaian masalah yang rasanya tidaklah begitu sukar untuk diatasi.

    Seperti yang biasa saya sebutkan, kita boleh memberi perlindungan dan memulihara harimau untuk mengelakkan dari pupus tapi janganlah sehingga sampai binatang ganas ini boleh mengancam haiwan ternakan dan nyawa manusia sendiri. Realitinya, haiwan ternakan kita itulah yang lebih penting untuk menentukan survival kehidupan manusia.

    Bahasa dan tulisan ibunda kita memang patut dipertahan dan dipelihara tetapi janganlah sampai kita mengorbankan perkara yang lebih penting iaitu perpaduan tulen. Kerana perpaduan tulenlah yang lebih utama dalam menentukan survival bangsa kita.

    Saya rasa masih ada jalan untuk anak-anak kita belajar bahasa dan tulisan ibunda mereka di satu sekolah yang sama, itupun kalau kita betul-betul mahu melihat perpaduan yang tulen dikalangan rakyat berbilang kaum.

  4. Dear Sir,

    With a minister that raises the keris and threatens other races, what do we expect from the teachers under his ministry?

    for me it was just a matter of time for what was once isolated incidences to be a norm.

  5. Yes, it's really sad when schools which are supposed to teach our children about unity in this multi racial and multi religious country of ours turn out to be what it is today. The Education Ministry has failed the country and the govt just do not have the political will to correct all the wrongs that they know of.