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”.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Muslim scholars must engage intelectually with non muslims

Article by Blogger Mohamed Hanipa Maidin ( Peguampas.Blogspot)

Frankly speaking I am a bit puzzled by the anger expressed by some muslims in this country over the Bar Council’s forum on "Conversion to Islam: Article 121 (1A) of the Federal Constitution, Subashini & Shamala Revisited". After all it was only a forum where the chosen speakers were supposed to air their views in respect of the chosen topic.
May be , the angered muslims are right . The topic of the forum was quite sensitive and provocative. It should have been changed to make is less provocative. But it does not change the fact that it was still a forum – an avenue for the respective speakers to market their ideas which would be followed by fruitful discussions by the members of the floor.
A forum is closely connected with a freedom of speech and expression which is guaranteed by Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

Needless to say Islam values such right and jealously protects it. Be that as it may, when the muslims vehemently protested such forum, I have , with the greatest respect, a difficulty to understand the reasons of such protest. While we ,the muslims, are entitled to protect and defend our religion , we must also at the same time be just and tolerant in our stand. Whatever stand we opted it must be based on the principle of fairness.

Just because we may have unsettled prejudice against certain group does not mean we have to oppose whatever program organized by such group.The forum , I am of the view, was not on a conversion of Islam per se as understood by certain quarters. In other words , the organizer, I believe, did not intend to question the right of non muslim to convert to Islam. On the other hand what the forum sought to achieve was the repercussion of the non muslim ‘s ancillary rights such as on the issue of custody of children and the maintainance over such conversion as reflected in the Federal Court’s judgment in Subashini a/p Rajasingam v Saravanan a/l Thangatoray.I sincerely believe many muslims ( and non muslims alike ) are not aware of and don’t have the full knowledge of the said case i.e Subashini a/p Rajasingam v Saravanan a/l Thangatoray. Unfortunately even without such knowledge , some have protested for the sake of protest .

The statement by certain irresponsible UMNO Ministers aggravated the situation. It is rather puzzling the protesters did not condemn a mediocre leader of UMNO ,Mohd Ali Rustam, when he suggested to use ISA to detain the organizer of the forum. I dare to say ISA is more dangerous and wicked than the said forum. Reading the judgment of the Federal Court in Subashini shows that the issue of the clash of jurisdictions ( civil and shariah ) has not been satisfactorily resolved. Thus it is fit and proper to organize a forum to discuss the said case and all the issues raised in the said case.

Do our muslim brothers and sisters know that until now the muslim has not not been allowed to file a divorce petition in the civil court when he or she converted to Islam. This is because under section 51 of the Law Reform ( Marriage & Divorce ) Act, only the non muslim spouse is entitled to file a divorce petition in the civil court if the other spouse embraced Islam. This has caused a lot of problems to the muslim spouse. He or she has no other option but to go to the Shariah Court to get his earlier marriage dissolved . But the decision of the Shariah court does not bind the other spouse who refused to embrace Islam.

Thus as far as the non muslim spouse is concerned , he or she is still legally considered a lawful husband or wife of the muslim convert. With this kind of forum , the muslim speakers may inter alia be able to highlight to the non muslim that even the muslims are discriminated against when they chose to embrace Islam. The main reason why such forum should be allowed to be held is that it did not only invite the non muslims as speakers. There were muslim speakers who were invited to air their views in the said forum. These three speakers, I believe , were competent to defend the muslims’ interest in that forum. When two out of the said three speakers pulled out from the forum at the eleventh hour , the inescapable conclusion was that the muslim scholars were not ready to engage intellectually with other non muslim speakers in that forum.

The pulling out, with respect, was not the good option. I believe that the topic of the forum was not detrimental to Islam unless it was unduly sensationalized and blown out of proportion. . The forum was the right avenue for the muslim scholars to defend Islam and its legal system. It was also the best opportunity for the muslim to engage intellectually with the non muslims. The muslim don’t have to be apologetic in such forum. This forum, is not akin to Article 11’s campaign. For me , the group of Article 11 was a kind of movement. It had launched a roadshow all over the country in order to attain certain hidden agenda. As such Article 11 was rightly protested by the muslims as it sought to drive home a message that the muslim in this country has the right to “murtad” and such right is protected by Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.

Many muslims rightly believed that Article 11 was created to pursue the IFC’s unsuccessful agenda. It is high time for the muslims to engage intellectually with the non muslims. We must show to our non muslims brothers and sisters that Islam promotes dialogue and intellectual discourse. Islam is the religion of truth and because of this truth the muslim are always ready and willing to engage with anybodies or any parties whatever their backgrounds.

It is relevant to quote this valuable advice by Allamah Yusuf Alqardhawi in this kind of issue
Lasna fi hajah liman yahmilu as-saifa liyuballigha hadzihi al-risalat bil ‘aksi nahnu fi hajah liman yahmilu al fikra wa yahmilu al’ilma wal qalama liyuballigha hadzihi al-risalat ila al-syarki wa ila al-gharbi”
( Translation : At present , we ( the muslims ) are not in need those who can bring the sword on the contrary we are in greater need those who can bring knowledge and pen in order to propagate the message of Islam to the East and to the West )

They are calling us Babi

Pic taken from Malaysia Today

Racist teacher gets a better deal.

Apparently, the teacher has been transferred to a school closer to her home, no disciplinary action taken. Best of all, the letter of transfer stated that she was being transferred due to concerns for her security and not because she had committed an offence. State Education Dept say they had wanted to transfer the person out of the state but had acceded to a request from the teacher to remain in the district

Meanwhile, the victimised students are being blamed by some teachers of the school for the lack of history teacher.

The teacher "had some explaining to do" is the statement given by Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong.

Read more on the NST here

Monday, August 11, 2008

psycho history teacher at SMK Telok Panglima, Selangor

Recently, about 500 angry parents and other members of the Indian community gathered outside the school to stage a protest over racial slurs and abuse allegedly uttered by a teacher against Indian students recently.

The slurs by the teacher was apparently included in the police report and it somehow managed to appear on the The Star's online version, although it appears to have been taken down afterwards. Blogger Poobalan managed to post the original Star report.

Caution - The words mentioned might put off some. Read it here.

In the aftermath,

“She also said that she did not expect things to become so serious and has agreed to be transferred to another school,” said Senator T. Murugiah, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department , who visited SMK Telok Panglima Garang.

Truly 'Cemerlang - Gemilang - Terbilang'