Terengganu State Education Director, Shafruddin Ali Hussin is another bigot causing unnecessary tension and disrupting unity, racial harmony and religious tolerance by allowing to bring forward part of the Deepavali leave and use it as an extended Hari Raya leave by the Muslim teachers and students in the state said Manivannan Rethinam, Chairman of Majlis Gagasan Malaysia.

In addition, it is further shocking that Deputy Minister of Education, YB Kamalanathan has looked into the issue and made a statement saying it will not affect the Hindu teachers and students during the Deepavali celebration. This is a shallow and unthoughtful statement saying Hindu teachers and students are not impacted. It is really unfortunate, the Deputy Minister for Education has failed to see the serious implication caused by this action, now and in the long run.

Manivanan Rethinam Pengerusi, Majlis Gagasan Malaysia Penyelaras Bersama, We Are Malaysians

Manivanan Rethinam
Pengerusi, Majlis Gagasan Malaysia

We should do our utmost to encourage respect and tolerance among the people of various religion and background and not the opposite of it in this case. How do we encourage racial harmony when during major holidays, we are going to have certain schools on holiday because they are not multiracial and those who consist of multi-racial (in this case Hindu) , all teachers and students will need to attend school as normal.

Next we will have Chinese schools & Tamil schools requesting for the Hari Raya and other festival leaves to be carried forward and used for Chinese New Year and Deepavali respectively. There are also possibilities, schools will start discouraging multi-racial student enrolment in order to enjoy longer stretch of holidays during celebrations.

Shafruddin’s latest clarification “Hindu teachers and pupils (71 students and 11 teachers from 19 primary schools, and 74 students and nine teachers from 14 secondary schools) will still observe four days of Deepavali holidays from Nov 9 to 12” meaning Muslim teachers and students from 33 schools out of the 499 schools in the state will not be able enjoy the additional 2 days extended Hari Raya leave.

How will the Muslim teachers and students feel seeing the other students and teachers from other schools without Hindu teacher or students enjoying longer Hari Raya holiday? This action will surely cause unnecessary mental duress to the non-Muslim teachers and students in the respective school because they are the direct cause for their Muslim colleagues and fellows students for not getting the additional two days holiday.

Manivannan Rethinam who is also the Vice Chairman of MIC National Information, added our forefathers have set the path for people of different race and religious belief to co-exist harmoniously in this country thus let’s not destroy the handwork of our forefathers.

We strongly condemn these detrimental actions which has bigger implication in the long run. This is setting a wrong precedence and against the call of 1 Malaysia by our YAB Prime Minister. We call upon the Government / Education Ministry to cancel the state directors’ circular immediately and maintain status quo since it insensitive to all Malaysians irrespective of race and religions who have been celebrating festive seasons and school holidays in harmony. Religious and cultural festivals are a way of life in Malaysia and this should not be jeopardised in any ways.

Stand Up, Speak Out and Unite as Malaysians.

Manivannan Rethinam​, A.M.P.
Majlis Gagasan Malaysia