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Racial remarks: Headmistress must be sacked

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It is difficult to reconcile how a principal of a secondary school could be so insensitive and dumb as to utter derogatory words to denigrate students under her care. She had shown utter contempt to the Chinese and Indians in this country.

It is unbelievable that she could have said, “Chinese students…can return to China.”  It is amazing that she could have likened the prayer strings worn by Indians to a dog leash.

It is difficult to believe that she is a teacher and an educator. With this warped and distorted view of the Chinese and Indians, what kind of values can she impart to her students under her care? What kind of character can she inculcate among her students? She comes across as subhuman.

How she got promoted is a mystery. How she got selected to be a teacher is a wonder. Unfortunately, there are many of her ilk in the Teaching Service doing immense damage to this nation. Two years ago, we had one dumb discipline teacher in Anderson School who ordered Hindu students to remove their religious wristbands and shave off their moustaches and beards, which they had allowed to grow ahead of fulfilling their vows during Thaipusam.

We have this kind of people not only in schools –  but those higher up are no better. The Director General of Education Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom did not do justice to himself or to his position when he referred to the offending alleged remarks made by Siti Inshah Mansor of Sekolah Menengah Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra as “just a misunderstanding.”

It is extremely upsetting when he tries to trivialise a serious matter as trifle. Instead of viewing her remarks as something that can hurt the feelings and sensitivities of others to the extent of jeopardising our harmony and unity, he doesn’t seem capable of understanding what damage her remarks have caused to our frail unity. Her thoughtless, offending remarks have indeed further undermined the Prime Minister’s vision of 1Malaysia.

When so much damage had been done by this insensitive head, it is troubling that the PM and the Education Minister have not uttered a word to reprimand this head. They have a duty to land hard on those who threaten our harmony and create disunity among us. When they hold their silence, it can be construed as not viewing seriously what has happened. It is this attitude that is causing a lot of problems in this country.

In Aliran’s view, this head should not continue to remain in the Teaching Service. She does not have the aptitude to be a head; she doesn’t understand the cultures of the various communities; she does not have common sense to discern what is right and wrong; she does not respect the rights of citizens of this country as evident when she stupidly told the Chinese students to return to China.

She should be either sacked or pensioned off. Keeping her in service will be viewed as condoning her conduct. Keeping her in service by transferring her to another school or department is not acceptable. This kind of action only encourages others to be bold in acting irresponsibly.

At times we wonder whether the government is truly interested in reining in these unscrupulous elements in positions of authority and weeding them out of the national life to preserve our harmony and unity. We have to ask this question simply because we have had so many instances of questionable characters disparaging the non-Malay communities without being properly disciplined.

The manner the instructor in the BTN had blamed and shamed the non-Malays as a group, the manner Datuk Nasir Safar from the Prime Minister’s Department had displayed his ignorance of our history by ridiculously claiming that the “Indians came to Malaysia as beggars and Chinese especially women came to sell their bodies” and got away scot-free without being severely punished – all of these have only encouraged others to go overboard with their  insults.

Thinking Malaysians have a right to ask why the General Orders were not applied in these cases. Are they exempted from the provisions of the GO?

P Ramakrishnan


19 August 2010

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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P Ramakrishnan has been an Aliran member since its inception in 1977, serving on our executive committee for 36 years, half of that period as Aliran's president (1994-2011). He continues to serve as an Aliran member, highlighting issues of public interest to a larger audience
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