KUALA LUMPUR: The ministry of education and state education departments are urged to assure the schools that no action will be taken against them if they skip Palestine Solidarity Week, says Cheah Lek Aee, president of the United Chinese School Teachers’ Association of Malaysia (Jiao Zong).
“Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has said that it is not a mandatory event. The ministry and state education departments must respect the decision made by schools in not taking part in the Palestine Solidarity Week,” he said.
In an interview with Sin Chew Daily, Cheah said some schools informed Jiao Zong that they received questionnaire from the ministry on Palestine Solidarity Week.
The questionnaire asked whether their schools would carry out events related to the Palestine Solidarity Week such as organizing a talk, exhibition, poem recital, rally, drawing, display the Palestinian flag, or no activity will be held.
While the ministry of education has stated in its directive that no controversial photographs including flags and slogans are to be used, the display of Palestinian flag and campus rally are listed in the list of activity, a contradiction to the ban on controversial items.
The schools are facing mounting pressure to submit a report on the activities held, Cheah said.
Would the school be spared from questioning if it says it will not hold any activity during Palestine Solidarity Week? He asked.
Some parents have told the school they would not send their children to school during the Palestine Solidarity Week to express their frustration, he said.
“A Palestine Solidarity Week held without proper planning will not achieve the objective of nurturing students on humanitarian aspect. Instead, people will lose their confidence in the education ministry,” he said.
Cheah said Jiao Zong’s stand is clear. If the ministry is keen to promote such events, it must be based on the universal value of stopping the war and preserving peace.