Sin Chew Daily
It was ridiculous for SMK Pusat Bandar Puchong 1 principal Rohani Mohd Nor to instruct the students to take down Chinese New Year decorations at the demand of an extremist minor political party.
As a matter of fact, it is utterly normal for any school to put up festive decorations in conjunction with a festive celebration, including Chinese New Year.
A school principal's compromise to an outsider in agreement of the allegation that the CNY decorations were meant to preach the Chinese religion to Muslim students is itself a grave mistake and failure on the part of the school principal.
Stern actions must be taken against Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (PUTRA) vice president Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz for openly intervening in the school's administration. This very same guy has earlier filed a court report to challenge the constitutional status of Chinese and Tamil primary schools in the country. And he is now overstepping the red line once again by creating racial uneasiness.
Enough is enough! We can no longer tolerate the destructive acts of this kind of extremist people.
Mohd Khairul is utterly ignorant for associating CNY celebrations with Chinese religious rituals. Chinese New Year is a very important festivity for the Chinese people and is a very important channel to pass down the centuries-old traditional culture, family concept as well as moral values.
Festive decorations constitute one of the ways to celebrate the festivity. Other than reinforcing the festive atmosphere, it also contains a lot of cultural connotations such as family values, solidarity and harmony, which are all universal values actually.
Mohd Khairul and the parent who filed the complaint do not know how to appreciate the beauty of different cultures in this country, treating them as monsters. This shows how narrow-minded and prejudiced they are.
SMK, as a school for all Malaysians, should by right encourage its students to learn about other cultures and religions and interact with fellow Malaysians from different ethnic backgrounds, hence they learn to be more tolerant and respectful.
Education is not about learning the knowledge inside the textbook and learning should not be confined within the walls of the classroom too. Celebrating other people's festivities is an excellent channel for the school to institute the spirit and principle of muhibbah in our culturally diverse society.
The submission of SMK Bandar Puchong 1 to a rogue politician has denied it a golden opportunity to instill national education to its students, showing them a very bad example instead. How are we going to guide our new generation students to construct a Malaysia that thrives on solidarity and shared prosperity?
Cultural diversity is most definitely a key advantage of this country. Malaysia is the home of all citizens irrespective of race, religion, cultural background.
We have hardly seen any progress in national harmony and mutual understanding over the past one year. In its stead, we seem to have regressed from where we were, being increasingly more conservative and intolerant, thanks largely to manipulation by irresponsible politicians and the failure of our government to check their advances.
Entering a new year, the issue of CNY decorations that couldn't have been more commonly seen during this festive season is once again exploited by some irresponsible people.
It is now time for the government to firm up its position and take stern actions against those who spread hatred, fear and insensible thinking. We cannot afford to keep a close eye on these people or connive with them. It is time for us to take serious actions to drive away these extremist nian sou or New Year Beast.