KUALA LUMPUR, August 21 — The DAP questioned today Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s reluctance to condemn racist remarks uttered by a school principal, adding an investigating task force would just complicate a straightforward case.
Its national publicity secretary Tony Pua also called the education minister’s decision to set up a task force to investigate Johor school principal Siti Inshah Mansor’s allegedly racist remarks “an afterthought”.
“The question is, why is he, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, so reluctant to condemn such remarks and warn others in the Education Ministry from ever doing the same or face the harshest of consequences?
“His action, or in this case, inaction, has further damaged the “1 Malaysia” concept proposed by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak to promote national unity,” Pua said in a statement.
The Petaling Jaya Utara MP said it would have been simple for Muhyiddin to determine if Siti Inshah had uttered racist words given the tens of witnesses present and the police report filed after the fact, and accused the Umno deputy president of complicating the probe.
Pua said that, while it was fair for the Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra principal to receive a thorough investigation, the emphasis by Muhyiddin that the probe will involve several agencies was a “clear attempt” to unnecessarily prolong the investigation.
“[This] despite the obvious fact that Siti Inshah has apologised to the students for the offence,” he said.
Muhyiddin yesterday directed Education director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom to set up a committee to investigate the matter. Alimuddin had earlier said it was a misunderstanding that had been resolved in a failed effort to placate angry parents.
The police are currently investigating the case under section 504 of the Penal Code for provocation which carries a maximum imprisonment of two years, a fine or both.
A total of 20 complaints have been lodged with the authorities.
Sit Inshah had reportedly made the derogatory remarks during the launch of the school’s Merdeka celebrations earlier this week.
“Chinese students are not needed here and can return to China or Foon Yew schools. For the Indian students, the prayer string tied around their neck and wrist makes them look like dogs because only dogs are tied like that,” Siti Inshah was quoted as saying in at least one police report.
Pua added that it was telling that Muhyiddin’s investigative task force had not been set a deadline to present its findings when a week would have been enough to determine the outcome.