Johor State Education Director Markom Giran despicably attempted to force teachers to play a partisan political role in the Tenang by-election. He was trying to corrupt the civil service, asserts P Ramakrishnan.
All citizens owe their loyalty to king and country – that includes civil servants. Civil servants are expected to serve the government of the day faithfully, irrespective of whichever party that forms the government.
They shouldn’t align themselves to any political party whether it is the ruling parties or the opposition parties. They should remain above politics and stay faithful to their vocation.
Their dedication should be to their profession and their commitment to serve and discharge their duties should not be wanting in any way.
This is how they preserve their integrity and safeguard their professionalism.
However this simple thing was not understood by the Johor State Director of Education, Markom Giran. He despicably attempted to force teachers to play a partisan political role. He was trying to corrupt the civil service.
He forgets that he is a civil servant himself. He forgets his code to serve in an exemplary manner. He forgets that he should remain above politics. He forgets that his duty is to education and his responsibility is to raise the standard of education.
Being an officer under category TG54, he is strictly barred from participating in politics. As such, he has no business to canvass for the Barisan Nasional and to abuse his position by directing his subordinates to campaign for the BN. There are no two ways about it. He was absolutely wrong in what he did.
This so-called educator forgot his role and wanted the teachers to surreptitiously find out the political leanings of the parents. He wanted them to do this under the pretext of organising motivational programmes for the students and to spy for the Barisan Nasional. He wanted them to identify those parents who are opposition inclined and report to him those who are sitting on the fence so that together they – the teachers and he – could work on these parents “to help the government to win in this round”.
Is this the job of teachers? Are they expected to be the stooges of the BN first and foremost – and only after that perform as teachers?
Asking the teachers to do his bidding like this – when it has nothing to do with their duties or performance as teachers – using his authority solely as their superior officer is committing corruption. It is crystal clear!
If Anwar Ibrahim had done this, he would have been charged with corruption – without any doubt – as he was a dozen years ago!
P Ramakrishnan is president of Aliran