Malays rights NGO Perkasa has denied that it issued a call for Christian teachers to be barred from teaching in public schools.
Asserting this today, Ibrahim Ali accused unnamed quarters of creating stories and spreading them on Perkasa’s behalf without the authority to do so.
"I am Perkasa president. We never made this proposal, as was stressed in the policy speech in our recent AGM, we stand for racial harmony,” Ibrahim (Independent-Pasir Mas) told the Dewan Rakyat in Parliament this morning.
"I believe that this is an evil and irresponsible question made by those anonymous persons who creates a lot of stories in the new media.
“Or it was made by individuals as his personal views and (who is) not authorised to issue official statements on Perkasa's behalf," he said in his intervention as Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong answered a query by Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing (BN-Tuaran).
Bumburing, during question time, had asked for the ministry's stand on the purported call by Perkasa to exclude Christian teachers from serving in government schools.
Ibrahim also demanded to know which newspaper published the news and chided the ministry for not checking with the NGO first when it was asked the question.
During a demonstration organised by Perkasa in front of the National Mosque on Aug 19, several protesters had held up banners reading ‘ Haramkan guru Kristian di sekolah kebangsaan ’ (Ban Christian teachers from national schools) and ‘ Guru Kristian melampau. Halau dan jauhkan dia dari murid2 Melayu ’ (Christian teachers going too far. Keep them away from Malay pupils).
During the rally, Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali expressed regret over Malay leaders from various parties who were “starving” for Christian votes to the extent of “selling the dignity of Islam”.
Given permission by Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia to respond, Bumburing said that he had no bad intentions in asking the question and had to do so as teachers are worried by the alleged Perkasa statement and had asked him to seek clarification.
“If there are errors in a newspaper report, usually there must be a correction or answers, but there has been none, so the (Christian) teachers are worried, so I as MP was asked to find out (from the ministry).”
Bumburing also expressed worry that statements such as those purported to be made by Perkasa, if not dealt the reprimand that he believe it deserve, can lead to such groups being bolder in making attacks against Malaysia’s racial harmony.
“We are the catalyst behind the Global Movement of Moderates, is this just our international face? Or are we going to ensure that we implement such (moderate) values in our country as well,” he said.
'Ministry does not discriminate'
In his answer to the BN parliamentarian’s initial question, Wee said that the ministry does not discriminate in its appointment of teachers.
“Our appointment of teachers is based on the needed options and available vacancies. We do not make any distinction based on the religious background or political affiliation of the teachers.”
Though understanding concerns of possible wrongdoings by teachers, he explained that there are existing guidelines governing public servants like teachers to ensure that they do not engage in activities that may provoke sensitivities, giving his assurances that the rules will be used to punish those who are guilty of such offences.
However, Wee added that the ministry respects the freedom of all individuals and NGOs to express their views and will listen to them, though being aware of religious sensitivities, the ministry will always vet such views and always stand by its existing set of procedures to ensure harmony is preserved.