Wee says school head’s apology insufficient, suggests ‘severe action’


(The Malay Mail) – The apology by the SMK Alam Megah headmistress over her “balik India, China” remarks is insufficient as it had come with a claim that she had also insulted her own race when making the jibe, MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong (picture) said today.

The former deputy education minister pointed out that in her apology yesterday, the school head had claimed that apart from telling the Chinese and Indian students to return to their home country, she had also told the Muslims to “balik Indonesia”.

“The dichotomy over citizenship is satirical,” Wee said in a statement here. “If the allegations are found true, her behaviour calls for severe action and nothing less.”

He said it was okay to reprimand the students if they had indeed been disruptive when the national anthem was being sung during the school assembly, but her use of such incendiary comments was unreasonable.

“The incident alone reflected our country poorly, but her apology even more so builds a seemingly intolerant and zealot image of Malaysia,” he said.

“We are all rakyat Malaysia; patriotic and proud. Besides Malaysian citizens, any person who resides in Malaysia legally, with the necessary work permit and visa, whether he/she may be an investor, diplomat, expatriate or even the humble migrant worker does not deserve to be subjected to such bigoted hurls.

“Statements such as hers must cease immediately as they can taint Malaysia as racist, thereby putting off would-be investors and international relations,” he added.

According to MIC leader A. Prakash Rao yesterday, the school headmistress admitted to making the jibe and apologised for her remarks but pointed out that apart from addressing the non-Malays, she had also told the Malay students to “return to Indonesia”.

“She has promised to meet the students on Friday to apologise to them,” news portal Malaysiakini reported the MIC leader as saying after he visited the school.

On Tuesday, Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan confirmed that the headmistress was under probe for making the incendiary remark.

According to reports on Monday, the headmistress had purportedly lashed out at non-Malay students for being unruly during an assembly, allegedly telling them to “Balik India dan China” (Go back to India and China).

The latest incident in Shah Alam is reminiscent of the 2010 case where the headmistress of Sekolah Menegah Kebangsaan Bukit Selambau in Sungai Petani, Kedah accused Chinese pupils there of being insensitive towards their Muslim peers by eating in the school compound during Ramadan, before ordering them to “return to China” if they could not respect the culture of other races.

The same year, the head of a school in Kulai, Johor had labelled non-Malay pupils “pendatang” (immigrants).

Although both school heads later apologised, the incidents and others in the same vein led to accusations of perceived tolerance for racism within the government and the civil service that some blamed on programmes conducted by the National Civics Bureau (BTN).