Letter to editor
THE Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) disagrees with the recent initiative by the Education Ministry to hastily implement the “Palestine Unity Week” in its affiliated schools and educational institutions.
There are concerns about the effectiveness of this short-term programme in genuinely promoting a message of peace and anti-war.
Especially in the absence of systematic training for teaching staff, there is a risk that the activities may deviate and turn the campus into a breeding ground for spreading hostile and violent ideologies, ultimately leading to one-sided information and dogmatic teaching.
KLSCAH believes that the Education Ministry’s promotion of “Palestine Unity Week” in various schools lacks thoroughness and sensitivity.
It fails to consider the diverse reality of Malaysia, a society characterised by a mix of different races, religions, and cultures – each with differing viewpoints on domestic issues, let alone the complex historical and geopolitical issues of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Determining right from wrong in such matters is far from straightforward.
Therefore, KLSCAH urges the Education Ministry to immediately withdraw its decision to hold “Palestine Unity Week”. This should take into account the diversity on campus, considering that students of various age groups come from different religious and cultural backgrounds.
Spanning just a few days, the “Palestine Unity Week” appears to be “something rushed haphazardly”, lacking critical teaching support.
Relying solely on religious populism to compel underage pupils to take a clear and one-sided stance in support of one side or the other is clearly not conducive to creating a space for advocating peace, rationality and non-violence based on universal values.
KLSCAH advocates that the government should focus on the basic education of primary and secondary schools, starting with nurturing critical thinking and mature reasoning skills of pupils inside the classroom.
It also encourages higher education institutions to shape a healthy campus public culture, allowing activities such as political salons, seminars and forums to develop on campuses.
Through public discussions and practical experience, pipis can develop civic awareness and a sense of human rights, leading to a more diverse worldview beyond the simplistic dichotomous viewpoint. – Oct 30, 2023
The Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) aspires to serve the country and society by ensuring that the voices within the Chinese community are heard while fighting for the benefits and rights of the community.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.