PETALING JAYA: The education ministry should not succumb to external pressures and must push forward with the Palestine Solidarity Week that begins in schools across the country from today, said Umno Supreme Council member Puad Zarkashi.
Puad said the incidents of students and teachers carrying toy guns – as seen in pictures and a video which went viral on social media this week – were the result of certain individuals failing to comply with the government’s guidelines and were not representative of all schools.
“Because of ‘one rotten apple’, a number of groups and individuals have urged the education ministry to cancel the Palestine Solidarity Week, but the ministry should not succumb to such pressure,” he said in a Facebook post.
Puad said the programme should be continued to represent the ministry’s own stance in support of Palestine, whose citizens have been stripped of their access to education by the war with Israel.
On Thursday, a 55-second video went viral on social media that showed an event held in a school involving what appeared to be a man wearing a bulletproof vest and balaclava while pointing a toy rifle at students. He then led a group of teachers into an assembly.
One of the teachers was seen holding a placard while others waved the Palestinian flag or wore Palestine-themed scarves across their faces and shoulders. Some also held toy rifles.
In response, the education ministry said yesterday that it would not condone activities with “extremist” elements, adding that the use of replica weapons, icons and symbols in a provocative and confrontational manner was “strictly prohibited”.
Similarly, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim also called for better control of the Palestine solidarity programme in schools following the reports.