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Conduct unbecoming a minister

September 11, 2013

Alyaa Azhar FMT.  

September 11, 2013

Idris Jusoh’s ‘send your children abroad’ statement ridiculous and arrogant, say Pakatan MPs and the Tamil Foundation.

PETALING JAYA: Pakatan MPs as well as the Tamil Foundation expressed incredulity over Education Minister II Idris Jusoh’s remarks to critics of the Education Blueprint.

PAS research centre executive director Dzulkefly Ahmad slammed Idris’ statement as ridiculous and arrogant and most regrettable.

“The last person I would expect to be saying such knee-jerk abrasive response would be the education minister who must exude wisdom, composure and tenacity.

“We hope the proponents of the education blueprint will stop throwing tantrums as this is not the first time but it better be the last. Otherwise, they are at liberty to graciously resign en masse,” he said.

Yesterday, Idris said that the ministry will carry on with its National Education Blueprint 2013-2015 plan and hinted that those who are not satisfied with it can send their children overseas.

“We can’t please everyone, we have our own objectives and we will continue to implement it. We sat down with thousands of experts before we came up with the blueprint,” he had said.

Dzulkefly stressed that since the education blueprint is the most critical document about human capital, debate and consultation must be allowed.

“After all, we are supposedly living in an era of new politics where contestation of ideas is not by partisan political parties alone but also by civil groups who are bi-partisan and full of ideas,” he said.

The former Kuala Selangor MP added that BN leaders must unlearn old habits and take part in constructive engagement before they become obsolete and perceived as an intolerant and inflexible lot.

“Stop asking people to leave the country and in this regard, sending their children abroad. There’s enough brain drain already,” said Dzulkefly.

‘There must be inclusiveness’

Tamil Foundation president S Pasupathi on the other hand said that Idris made an irresponsible statement, adding: “We did not expect such a statement coming from the education minister,” he said.

He stressed that education is the government’s obligation while multilingualism is an asset to nation building.

“There must be inclusiveness whereby all views should be taken into consideration, and this includes the views of all citizens and stakeholders in the education system.

“Coming out with the blueprint does not mean you have to stick to it. The best solution in strengthening the use of Bahasa Malaysia is through remove classes.

“Our students who study in Russia, for example, can pick up the Russian language within one year, so the same can be done through remove classes with Bahasa Malaysia,” he said.

PKR vice-president Chua Jui Meng, meanwhile, said that Idris’ statement stems from the same arrogance that had alienated many people in the last general election.

“His statement is in the same stream of those who say if you do not like a particular policy, you can go back to China or India,” he said, adding that Idris was using the same politics associated with racism.

The Johor PKR chairman said that all right thinking Malaysians will reject such politics, the same kind of politics which has made Barisan Nasional (BN) a “minority” government.

“If this continues then BN, especially Umno, is going to collapse in the next general election,” he said.

Chua stressed that the education ministry should instead be sensible because they are dealing with young people’s lives.

“We should create citizens who can compete internationally. If the education system continues to be seen as a mediocre then more people will resort to private institutions,” he said.

He added that this would not be good for the younger generation, especially those from the lower income group as they still depend on the public education system.

He also said that the education blueprint is merely Umno’s stamp on each minister’s aspirations.

“With every education minister trying to reinvent the wheel, it is only the people who suffer,” he said.

Typical of Umno’s mindset

Seremban MP Anthony Loke also echoed Chua’s sentiments, saying that the statement made by Idris was “typical, arrogant and ridiculous”.

“What he said is the same as those who say that those who do not agree with the government’s policy can migrate to other countries.

“This reflects the state of competency of our ministers. When people do not agree with them, they simply ask people to migrate,” said the DAP socialist youth head.

The Chennah state assemblyman added that Idris’ statement is typical of Umno’s mindset who think they know best.

“Well, the era of government knows best is over. My advise is this, if you cannot accept criticism, just retire from politics,” he said.

Seputeh MP Teresa Kok also said she was shocked by Idris’ statement.

“How can a minister adopt such an attitude and make such ridiculous remarks? This is totally unacceptable. Such remarks are unbecoming of a minister with an important portfolio.

“Nobody expects any or all government policies to be able to please everyone, but no minister must say ridiculous remarks like what he did,” she said.

She added that the teaching of Maths and Science in English policy did not please everyone, but could Dr Mahathir Mohamad tell those people who were unhappy to send their children to study abroad?

“Also, the policy reversal announced by Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin did not please everyone, so can the government tell people, including Mahathir to send his grandchildren to study abroad if they opposed the government’s decision?” she asked

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