Recently, someone stirred the hornet’s nest.
When a small group of Muslim parents complained about the Methodist Girls’ Primary School in Penang, the director-general of Ministry of Education, Amin Senin reacted with a strong warning letter against the principal of the school who was hardly two months on the job.
He also threatened further disciplinary action against the Missions school after, what appears to me as, having only listened to one side of the complaints.
Order of Events
The awards ceremony took place on Friday October 27, and on Sunday October 29, Amin issued a stern warning against the school.
More thorough investigations were only carried out later by the police and various other parties, and now we know the truth.
What made Amin Senin so sure that there was indeed a prayer to “convert the Muslims students in the school” – and that, in the presence of all the Muslims parents themselves? How stupid can one get!
Whoever fed the update to Amin should be hauled up as well for further investigation, as the information was biased.
If there had indeed been a prayer, what is wrong with Muslim parents and students learning to respect the religious practices of other people? Under the federal constitution, people of all religious faiths cannot be restricted in their religious practices and the schools surely come under the supreme law of the country.
My question is: Since when have we become so intolerant as a race? And, for this show of intolerance to come from a senior government officer, it is just unbelievable!
Does a prayer even have the power to convert Muslims? If yes, I really want to pray for Amin so that he will come to his senses again.
If it is true that by my open prayer during a school event, that the faith of these Muslim parents and their children in the school could be easily shaken, I think they should double their reading of their own religious books! They should never even be sending their children to a Missions school.
Questions for Amin
But what baffles me the most when I reflect back is the action taken by Amin himself.
In the first place, what proofs did Amin have when he issued the warning against the school within just a short span of time? Did he even seek a clarification from the school principal or the school board? Is this how a senior government officer should behave?
At the speed that the warning was issued, it appears to me that Amin was more driven by his own perception of things than to be willing to wait for the outcome of the investigations.
Whenever complaints were raised with the Ministry of Education, there is often no outcome. Often investigations would takes months if not weeks, and many rounds of follow up before an action is carried out against an errant school or teacher.
So, for Amin to react so drastically and almost at lightning speed, causing a big stir nationwide, I think it is not befitting of a senior government officer, especially when the school concerned is a Missions school, which holds its traditions for nearly a hundred years.
While Amin is retiring soon, I think it is only right for him to apologise to the nation, instead of going down into history as someone who made a rash decision without waiting for the outcome of a thorough investigation.
It’s not only the Christian community that was unhappy with his reaction, but even a Hindu deputy chief minister, Professor P. Ramasamy, and many other well-respected Muslim men and women have spoken up against his action.If Amin fails to make amends, the onus is on Education Minister, Maszlee Malik himself – if he has a good and balanced worldview – to retract the letter of warning against the school.
WRITER: Stephen Ng