Our correspondent was shocked when her daughter revealed that her school had two timetables for her and her classmates – one for the Muslims and the other for the non-Muslims. Is this 1Malaysia, she wonders.
A lot has been spoken and written about our much-touted 1Malaysia concept. However much I have tried to be objective about the nobility of 1Malaysia, circumstances and happenings around me just add to my cynicism.
I was greeted by a truly 1Malaysia school time-table at my daughter’s primary school in the first week of January 2010. Revered as a controlled primary school on Penang island, the school has a time-table for “Muslim students” and “non-Muslim students”, much to my disgust.
After analysing the time-table, I realised that the Muslim students get to learn the Arabic language whereas the non-Muslim students do not have the option of learning an additional language (neither Mandarin nor Tamil). Therefore, the non-Muslim students have an hour less of school time than the Muslim students in a week. At the tender age of eight, my daughter is already faced with inequality and unfair treatment in the name of 1Malaysia.
It truly irks me how hypocritical this 1Malaysia concept is. Unity starts with the young. But our national schools are a crying shame when it comes to promoting unity and equality. This really is a reflection of the total failure of our national education system. We cannot depend on the schools to teach or instil any good and enduring values in our younger generation. We will have to put our children on the right path, inculcate good values, teach them to differentiate right from wrong and most importantly, not be trapped in this web of deceit under the 1Malaysia banner.