Thursday, March 27, 2008

Schools in 5 states told to be neutral

Regina William

PENANG (March 26, 2008): Schools in the five states controlled by the opposition coalition have been verbally adviced to take a neutral stance in inviting executive councillors or state assemblyman for official functions.

And this is being interpreted to mean that the schools should refrain from inviting executive councillors or assemblymen from opposition parties, at least until further notice.

Following a statement by Deputy Penang Chief Minister II Prof Dr P. Ramasamy that there were rumours schools were issued verbal instructions not to invite state executive councillors for functions, theSun checked with the Penang education department and confirmed that there was such a move.

Acting state education director Ibrahim Mohamad said schools have been verbally told to take a neutral stand for the time being.

"For now, the ministry has adviced that schools should invite government officials and not anyone from any political parties as we do not want to offend any party," Ibrahim said in a telephone interview.

He said the directive was issued by the department after being advised by the Education Ministry to take a neutral stand.

Ibrahim said he understood that the same directive was issued to education departments in all five states governed by the opposition.

"For now, we have been asked to take this stand until further instructions from the ministry," he said.

Earlier, Ramasamy said State Secretary Datuk Jamaludin Hasan has been asked to investigate whether such a directive existed.

Ramasamy, who is also education committee chairman, said he had heard about verbal directives being issued to schools but there was no written instruction to that effect.

"I heard about this a few days ago when I went to visit a Tamil school which was in a poor condition. However, I did not go into the compound and stayed outside.

"I have not verified this and to be fair, it is not right for me to say anything since we do not know if this is just a rumour. I will give them the benefit of the doubt as it might not be true and we have to clarify this.

"We have asked Jamaludin to check on this and get back to us," Ramasamy said after a press conference chaired by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He said so far, no official invitations had been extended to the state government by schools. "If they invite us, we are obliged to go and no one should stop schools from inviting us."

When contacted, a school in Petaling Jaya said they had enquired about this but were told to wait for a directive before doing anything.

seals: Offend any party or BN ? BN come to the real world, the are the local government, they have all the rights....! Then it should be the same in other states....they should not invite any one from any political parties...include BN.

I think the state government should start replacing the state pengarah and government officials who work form the local government not for BN.

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