No Merdeka Celebrations At State-Level For Penang Schools
No more 'Bersih, Cekap, dan Amanah' for Penang National Day celebrations
After a bold move of challenging the federal government's National Day theme and coming up with their own, 'Bersih, Cekap, dan Amanah', Penang has finally decided to switch back to Putrajaya's 'Malaysia, Sehati, Sejiwa'.
Lim Guan Eng lamented that the decision was made to preserve the age old tradition of the Armed Forces' salute to the Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas, stressing that it is crucial for the Armed Forces to participate in the celebrations.
"The announcement of the Armed Forces' decision not to participate in the parade is very disappointing," he read from his statement.malaysiakini.com
Earlier today, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar insisted that the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) is also boycotting the Penang National Day celebrations as their theme differs from the standardized, federal government's theme, 'Malaysia, Sehati, Sejiwa'.
21 AUG: Students in Penang will not be able to participate and celebrate Merdeka at state-level this year after the Ministry of Education has banned them from doing so
Penang state education director Osman Hussain has directed all schools in the state not to attend this year's Merdeka celebration organised by the DAP-led government.
The letter was issued to all schools yesterday.
Osman said all school heads, teachers and students are to wait for further instructions from him on the matter as he is consulting the Education Ministry.
Penang's theme contradicts the federal theme, Osman says
"I sent out the letter because Penang has its own theme,which contradicts with the federal theme," Osman told Malaysiakini when contacted.
"The problem is the word 'Bersih'. We have to wait for the greenlight from the ministry before we can attend," he added.
The Penang government's theme for the Merdeka celebration this year is ‘Bersih’ (Clean) instead of the federal government's ‘Malaysia, Sehati Sejiwa’ (One Heart, One Soul).
"Bersih" is a sensitive word
"It is not that I do not allow them to go for it. But we are under the Education Ministry at the federal level and this state belongs to the opposition," he said.
"The word ‘Bersih’ is sensitive, so we have to await the greenlight from the ministry before we can attend. If the ministry says okay, we will attend," Osman added.
Deputy Chief Minister (II) Prof P Ramasamy said he was told that the Department found fault with the use of the word "bersih" in this year's Merdeka slogan for the state.
"That surprised me. Our slogan this year is 'bersih, cekap dan amanah' (clean, skilled and trustworthy). What is the problem?" he asked.
Ramasamy said he suspected that the Department was concerned that the use of the word "bersih" would be linked to the Bersih 4.0 rally slated for Aug 29 and 30.
"Be professional", Penang's Merdeka celebrations organising committee chairman Law Choo Kiang says
"Such a letter is not rational nor logical. The state Education Department should be professional about this," Law (photo) said.
"The department should be more interested in promoting patriotism in schools, instead of stopping them from attending the state celebrations," the Bukit Tambun assemblyperson said, adding, "Don't hurt our good relationships with all the schools."
Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan has defended the move to ban Penang schools from the state-level celebration because it is harmful to the country's interest
"The State Education Department was advised by the MKN to instruct schools from participating in the Merdeka Day celebration in Pulau Penang if the state government insists on using ‘BERSIH’ as the theme as it clearly contravenes the country's interest," Kamalanathan said.
The Hulu Selangor MP said the order will stay unless the Penang government reinstates Putrajaya’s original theme back for its Merdeka Day celebrations.
Netizens have commented that they see nothing wrong with the slogan and criticised the government's decision