Ti Lian Ker says schools should be setting a positive example inculcating unity among the various races

KUALA LUMPUR: The former headmaster of SM Taman Puteri should be setting a positive example by imparting among his pupils, teachers and staff the values of 1Malaysia, unity in diversity and not racism, religious superiority over others, MCA Religious Harmony Bureau chief Ti Lian Ker said today.

He said this when commenting on pupils from SK Taman Puteri who had been instructed to label, wash and store their cups separately according to “Muslim” and “non-Muslim”, whereupon Muslim-labelled cups are placed on the higher tier.

“School children do not know racism. Every other classmate irrespective of skin colour or religion is a friend. Such prejudices are inculcated by adults along a child’s formative years,” he said in a statement.

He said while SK Taman Puteri had a sizeable proportion of non-Muslim pupils totalling close to 40% with 219 Malays and 145 non- Malay pupils, irrespective of the ethnic composition of their pupils, schools must never introduce such “separate but equal” policies.

“Such scenarios will leave an indelible erroneous impression among young minds that race/religious hate and domination, disrespecting and trampling others of a separate creed is justifiable and acceptable when definitely, such xenophobia must be rejected and nipped at the bud at all costs.

“As the issue here involves drinking cups, the crux being water consumption, did the HM compel separate washrooms or canteen utensils for Muslim and non-Muslim pupils and staff? Is the headmaster even aware that all of us Malaysians are breathing in the same oxygen be it fresh mountain springs or polluted carbon emissions?

“While it has been reported that the headmaster who implemented this discriminatory and inflammatory practice has been transferred to another school, education authorities must now probe the school where the said HM is posted to, to check and put a halt if such bigoted practices are enforced there too,” added Ti.

He said if necessary, the headmaster should be suspended from all duties that involve interaction with the public and relegated to a desk job.

The Education Ministry must immediately instruct the current head or administrator of SK Taman Puteri to withdraw this polarising practice, apologise to all students and parents and commence teaching the values of multiculturalism and friendship irrespective of faith, he said.

“The HM must also be probed in terms of staff appraisal, if there is a marked noticeable higher points awarded for teachers and staff who share the same faith as opposed to others who profess a different religion,” he added.