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Waytha quizzes minister over tombstone in school

PETALING JAYA: What is a tombstone doing in the compound of a government school? That is the question that P Waythamoorthy has asked Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid.

In a letter to Mahdzir, dated today, the Hindraf chairman said that the tombstone placed in SMK Sultan Abdul Samad in Bukit Kuda, Klang had been “constructed and erected” during the year-end school holiday period.

“It has been brought to our attention that the above school’s headmistress along with the state education department and other unknown persons had constructed and erected an Islamic tombstone. They did this without the consent of the parent-teacher association and the teachers of the said school.

“What is even more baffling is the school consists of over 80% non-Muslim students,” Waytha said.

Calling it a part of the effort by “little Napoleons” with an Islamisation agenda, Waytha said it showed total disregard for the feelings of students and parents from other races.

“Little Napoleons with extreme religious agenda in national schools have shown total disregard for the feelings of the other races by acting in such a blatant manner putting up the tombstone.

“To what purpose does it serve is not known nor how does it serve the interests of multi-racial and multi-religious students. Is this part of the larger agenda of Islamisation of the education system for political reasons?” he asked the education minister in the letter which was copied to Prime Minister Najib Razak and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Joseph Kurup. The latter is in charge of the national unity and integration department in the PM’s department.

Waytha, who is a former deputy minister in the prime minister’s department, said any Islamisation of national schools, along with the mono-ethnic staffing of schools will only result in the people of Malaysia becoming more polarised in the years to come.

“The people will also be fearful of national schools,” he added.

“Education in national schools should be about learning compulsory tertiary education with zero religious indoctrination. The act by the agent provocateurs in SMK Sultan Abdul Samad in Klang, clearly is in breach of the policies and educational blueprint that the government has embarked on.”

Waytha also called for Mahdzir to state categorically that this act is not part of the government’s policy, and that national schools will be free from any religious influence in order to comply with the desired Malaysian identity for schools, stated in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2012-2025 Annual Report released on Aug 9 last year.

“We believe it is not a policy of the education ministry to build tombstones in national schools but rather that this is an isolated incident spurred by the civil servants in this school.

“We strongly urge you to immediately call for an investigation on this matter and reprimand the civil servants involved without causing anxiety and anguish for the students and parents in the said school,” Waytha said, demanding that the tombstone be removed for all practical purposes.