8 NOVEMBER 2015
With regard to the appointment of Ustaz Roslin Che Mood as principal of SMK Sungai Paoh which is a Dayak majority school, it is hard to believe that there are no locals, particularly Dayaks who are qualified to assume the post. The issue is not whether or not the Ustaz is a PAS supporter or a gentle person. There must be a Sarawakian who is capable and deserving of the post. If there is not one such Sarawakian, then the Education Ministry has failed the Sarawakians, and this will be just another example of the BN’s failures over the past 52 years. The Chief Minister has in the past few months made known his intention to seek devolution of powers from the Federal government including full control over education for Sarawak. This is the time for the Sarawak government to make their stand on decisions made by the Federal government which are not in the best interests of the people.
As for being ‘racially and religiously sensitive’, I can understand the reaction of the parents in view of the past incidences of conversions and attempted conversions of Christian pupils by Muslim teachers from Peninsula Malaysia. They are not being overly sensitive; the fears of the parents are not misplaced or unrealistic. Although the government has denied that such conversions have happened, or played down the incidences, the parents and villagers in the rural areas have different stories to tell and are wary of teachers from Peninsula Malaysia. In fact, many villagers are now determined to start their own tadikas staffed by their own teachers instead of sending their children to government-run tadikas.
Brushing aside the concerns of the parents and telling them to stop being ‘sensitive’ does not do anything to alleviate their worries. I would urge the government to be sensitive to the wishes of the parents of the school, especially in view of the extreme sensitivity in the matter of religious conversions in this country.
ADUN N70 Ba’ Kelalan