NGOs to Education Ministry: Kindly keep international conflicts out of Malaysian school compounds

A GROUP of 17 NGOs including from Sabah & Sarawak has expressed shock over a notice from the Education Ministry dated Oct 21 calling for all schools to demonstrate and observe a solidarity week in support of the Palestinians’ cause.

The notice from the Office of the Deputy Director-General of Education singles out six proposed activities to be carried out in all schools nationwide.

The NGO led by the Global Human Rights Federation (GHRF) is deeply concerned over this controversial event by a simple administrative ruling without discussions on its appropriateness at the Dewan Rakyat or without consulting the parents.

“The proposed action has not been adequately considered for its long term impact,” lamented GHRF’s deputy president Peter John Jaban in a media statement.

“We are looking at the seriousness of dragging school children’s into becoming part of the global, grown-up adult world of protests and not to subject young minds into getting embroiled in this Middle East crisis.”

The group of 17 NGOs further cautioned that the six propositions mooted by the education authorities “can go wrong and be a cause for concern and with far-reaching repercussion”. The six proposition consist of:

  • Launching of the Palestinian Solidarity Week at school level during morning assembly;
  • Launching of fund raising for the Palestinian cause;
  • Video screening of songs relevant to the humanitarian cause in Palestine;
  • Implementation of spiritual activities such as solat hajat (prayer of need) and bermunajat (special prayer in the form of zikir) for Muslim pupils;
  • Implementation of special curriculum related to humanitarian issues in Palestine such as song/poem composition contest and poster drawing; and
  • Other relevant activities.

“We have seen before how a particular school in Malaysia very recently had made its young pupils to stomp on an Israeli flag. The post which has gone viral in the social media has caused immense concern among citizens,” Jaban pointed out.

“Many netizens have criticised such action and rightly held that the said school is sowing hatred in the young, impressionable minds.”

Added the renowned Sarawakian activist: “Parents send their children to national schools not only for academic progress but also hope for mental and social balance as well as to enable their children to interact with other pupils of other races and religious faiths.” – Oct 25, 2023

Editor’s Note: Apart from GHRF, the other 16 NGOs who oppose the school-level Palestinian Solidarity Week include Persatuan Bekas Pelajar Sekolah Tamil Malaysia (PERTAMA); Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BoPiMaFo); Independent Coalition of Natives Sarawak (ICON); Gindol Initiative for Civil Society Borneo; Pertubuhan kebajikan Rumpun Dayak Sabah; Persatuan Pembangunan Sosial Komuniti Sabah (BANGUN); Parti Bumi Kenyalang Sarawak; Sarawak Association for People’s Aspirations; Persatuan Kebajikan Persaudaraan Sahabat Miri Sarawak; Persatuan Etnik Dayak Asal Sarawak; Gerempung Raban Dayak Kuching; Malaysia Chinese Educated Students Association; Hindu Agamam Ani Malaysia; social activist Siti Kasim and Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan.

Main pic credit: Bernama

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