Students Sang UMNO Song And Chanted 'Hidup UMNO' At A School Event In Putrajaya
In an interesting turn of events, a primary school in Putrajaya held an UMNO-themed celebration yesterday, 3 October
Malaysiakini reported that the celebration was held at SK Putrajaya Presint 14 (1). Teachers and students from the school participated in a "class decoration and performance" competition themed, 'UMNO and Independence #Negaraku'.
According to the news site, there were UMNO flags all over the school compound and students were seen waving the party's flag and Jalur Gemilang, when singing the party's anthem, 'Bersatu, Bersetia, Berkhidmat'.
A banner bearing the words, "Hidup UMNO, Hidup Melayu. Dulu, Kini dan Selamanya" (Long Live UMNO, Long Live Malays. Then, Now, and Forever) was also sighted on the stage during the celebrations
The event was reportedly organised by the Federal Territories Ministry, the Putrajaya Education Department, Putrajaya UMNO Division Education Bureau, and two other unnamed NGOs. Also present at the celebrations was Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.
When giving a speech during the prize-giving ceremony, Tengku Adnan had allegedly encouraged the teachers to join UMNO.
The speech ended with students chanting, "Hidup UMNO!" (Long live, UMNO!).
Students were also apparently humming the UMNO anthem when the school's headmaster was giving the minister a tour of the classrooms. There was also an UMNO flag nasi kunyit dish at the celebrations.
When asked by reporters on whether or not it was appropriate to have UMNO flags in schools, Tengku Adnan declined to comment.
Meanwhile, headmaster Mohd Amin Hamzah, said that the UMNO-themed celebration was set by the Federal Territories Ministry and that the school has not violated any rules by complying with it
"Actually, it (the political element) wasn't too obvious. We were merely supporting an activity organised by the ministry. This has nothing to do with politics," he said, when speaking to Malaysiakini.
Commenting on the UMNO flags and the fact that students were made to sing the party's anthem, Mohd Amin said, "This is just temporary."
However, a teacher at the school revealed that some of the staff at the school weren't too happy about the political party-themed celebrations
"We did not agree to such an arrangement because we don't like politics. But since the ministry decided to use this theme, what can we do?
"Last year, the ministry asked us to use the theme 'Kemerdekaan' (Independence)," the teacher who wished to remain anonymous told Malaysiakini.
The Federal Territories Ministry had also allegedly sent a special team to inspect the school compound prior to the event.
"I have no idea where the children learned to sing the UMNO song. We didn't teach them. We only trained the students who participated in the competition," he added.
Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) has criticised the celebrations, saying that incidents like these can diminish the education ministry's efforts to make national schools the first choice for parents
"It is regrettable that innocent schoolchildren are made pawns in political games that adults play. It now further confirms that all the efforts that the Education Ministry is undertaking to make national schools the first choice of parents are rapidly eroding.
"Such schools can now be perceived as political hotbeds," said PAGE in a statement yesterday, 3 October, as reported by Malaysiakini.
Stressing that schools must not be used to spread political agenda, PAGE said that the Malaysian Education Ministry must look into this matter seriously.
"This event appears to be a blatant and desperate attempt by UMNO to guise a political ploy behind a school competition. Parents of the school should lodge a formal complaint," read the statement.