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Apologise to teachers, Masing

 | June 20, 2013

Sarawak Senior Minister James Masing's post-GE censure of teachers has irked the unions here.

KUCHING: Two teachers unions and an opposition party are up in arms against Land Development Minister James Masing who they claimed had insulted the intelligence of the teachers by accusing them of being anti-establishment.

The Sarawak Bumiputera Teachers Union (KGBS) and the Sarawak Teachers Union (STU) have come out strongly against the remarks made by Masing, senior minister in the state cabinet.

Last Thursday Masing, who is Parti Rakyat Sarawak president, had chided civil servants especially teachers saying that most of this group were opposition sympathisers.

He warned these civil servants by saying that BN would continue to rule Sarawak (even) after the next state election “because it has always delivered its promises unlike the opposition which only gave sweet promises.”

Describing Masing’s statement as unfair, KGBS president Ahmad Malie said that such a statement could demoralise teachers.

“We hope this political leader will stop making allegations which simply generalise a profession. Not all government servants especially teachers are anti-establishment as most are loyal to the government.

“The teachers have worked hard to educate the future generations without taking into account the colour of their skin or political leaning of their parents or guardians,” he said.

STU adviser William Ghani Bina said that generally teachers are supportive of the government, but they should be allowed to comment on any issue including a political issue.

“They should be allowed to express their feelings on unfair and unjust government policies. Malaysia is a democratic country and teachers like everyone else have their democratic right.

“As long as they do not campaign during election time, they should be allowed to voice their concerns. After all what affects others also affects them,” Ghani said.

STU president Jisin Ngud expressed similar sentiments saying that the teachers should not be prevented from expressing their concerns on certain government policies.

STU has a membership of more than 23,000.

Stop intimidating teachers

Meanwhile Sarawak PKR information chief Vernon Kedit accused Masing of intimidating, insulting and scolding civil servants.

He said Masing singled out teachers because they had openly criticised the BN.

“In my many dealings with civil servants, I have found them to be helpful and cooperative despite them knowing I am from the opposition.

“They have shown their impartiality and neutrality to a very professional and satisfying standard. For Masing to chide them publicly is akin to insulting their intelligence.

“Civil servants are not children to be scolded by BN ministers,” said Kedit at a press conference.

Kedit also reminded Masing that during the GE campaign, there were teachers who had openly supported BN.

“There were teachers who also openly supported the BN? Why scold those who supported the opposition but remain silent on those who supported the BN?

“Is it not a double standard, Masing?” Kedit asked.

He said that during the official campaigning period of the last GE13, Masing should have remembered that there was no (BN) government.

Civil servants must be neutral

“The government had been dissolved and the outgoing government was merely a caretaker government.

“Hence, neither BN nor Pakatan was the government or the opposition. Therefore, teachers were not bound by the General Orders to maintain their neutrality during that period.

“And yet Masing missed this important point and went on a rampage to vilify teachers,” he said.

Kedit however agreed with Masing that civil servants, including teachers must remain neutral when carrying out their duties.

“They must not frustrate the execution of the policies of the government of the day. They must always remain neutral and impartial and do their work in implementing the policies of the government of the day.

“Teachers, especially, are duty-bound to teach and educate and impart that which is morally right and academically sound to their pupils and not promote political parties’ agendas, be it BN or Pakatan.

“But it is not for BN ministers to publicly insult their intelligence by telling them to support the government,” he said.


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