There is growing intolerance and increasing extremism in Malaysia which are inimical to successful nation building and the latest instance is the demand for the removal of the Christian cross and the demolition of Christian statues in mission schools.
I raised this issue in Parliament this morning during the winding-up of the Education Ministry in the 2008 Budget committee stage debate by the Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Noh Omar and expressed my concern why the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had not said anything to dissociate the government from such extremist demands.
During the policy debate on the 2008 Budget on Oct. 29, 2007 the Barisan Nasional Member of Parliament for Parit Sulong, Syed Hood bin Syed Edros, supported by the BN MP for Sri Gading, Datuk Haji Mohamad bin Haji Aziz called for the removal of the Christian cross and the demolition of Christian statues in the mission schools.
The loyalty of mission schools was questioned, with the baseless allegation that they refuse to observe Aidilfitri public holiday and close the schools. There was even the preposterous accusation that the mission schools were administered by churches outside the country, including the Vatican.
I asked Noh Omar whether he is aware that the extremist demands by the two BN MPs have created a furore, particularly on the Internet, and why the Education Ministry was condoning such extremism by its silence when such statement should be denounced without equivocation.
I also reminded the Deputy Education Minister that it is wrong and mischievous to assume that Muslims studying in mission schools are potential apostates, when mission schools had made great contributions in nation-building and produced many Malay leaders, including Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the Education Minister himself, the Perak Raja Muda Raja Nazrain Shah and the Sultan of Selangor who had been products of mission schools.
There was no satisfactory reply from Noh Omar.