Teachers should not be "intimidated or blackmailed" into voting for any party, the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) reminded political parties.
Its president Hashim Adnan said this in response to Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh's call to teachers to vote for Barisan Nasional in the upcoming by-election as a “payback” to the ruling coalition.
"Teachers can vote for anyone they want. I would not demand or force teachers to vote for Barisan Nasional," Hashim told The Malaysian Insider today.
He added: "If they are happy with what they have been receiving and if they want them (BN) to serve as they feel they have done a good job, then they can vote for BN.
He said the government should not be taking teachers for granted.
"When you are in power for a very long time, it is normal to make such call... it is the same thing anyone in such a position would do," he added but warned both sides not to bully teachers into voting for them.
Yesterday, Idris said that there was no reason as to why teachers should turn their back on the government at a time when their help was needed most.
"And the time has come for them to help ensure that the BN retains the seat, as gratitude to the government," Idris was quoted saying to reporters during a meet-the-people session in Kampung Kamunting near Kuala Besut in Terengganu yesterday.
Idris' call harks back to the Tenang by-election, where the-then state education department director Markom Giran was also thrust under the limelight for allegations of power abuse for purportedly directing teachers to work to ensure BN's victory.
Dzulkefli Ahmad, the PAS election director for Tenang, lodged a report against Markom that the latter had been visiting schools in Labis and Tenang to ask teachers to ensure BN's victory.
Dzulkefli had also handed over a four-minute video clip, which had been uploaded on YouTube, showing Markom giving such a speech to teachers. - July 7 2013.
~ The Malaysian Insider