Monday, August 2, 2010

Teachers and politics don't mix said YB Datuk Masidi Manjun

Source: Sabah Daily Express

Kota Kinabalu: Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun is concerned that the move to allow the teaching fraternity to get involved in politics will have serious repercussions on education in Sabah.

While he is not against the idea that was mooted by the Federal Government, he cautioned that if it is not properly managed, it could affect the education system in Sabah, which is still in its infancy.

He was commenting on the statement by Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, on Tuesday that beginning Aug 1, graduate education service officers (teachers) on Grades DG41 to DG48 will be permitted to engage in politics.

He feared that if the teachers were too engrossed in politics, they would neglect their duty as teachers.

"Bear in mind that they are paid to be teachersÉso, their main work is to teach," he told reporters in a press conference at Wisma Tun Fuad, here, Friday.

However, he said the move would probably set some guidelines as to the level of the teachers' participation in politics.

"Because if it is a full time occupation, then he (a teacher) has to resign (from his teaching profession)," he said.

To his understanding, Masidi said teachers are probably allowed to join a political party of their own choice and contribute their ideas to its development.

At one time, he said teachers played a very important role in the community they served not only as academic instructors but also as mediators to settle disputes, among others.

Nevertheless, he said the role of teachers had changed as the years went by.

He hoped the Government would monitor the teachers from time to time to determine whether it made a good decision to allow them to participate in politics.

He said if teachers could provide service to the people via their involvement in politics, then there is nothing wrong for them to do so.

In a political party hierarchy, he said it is only natural for anyone, including the teachers, to aspire for position.

"If this comes true, I just hope it would not affect their performance as teachers," he said.

Masidi also said not all teachers would have similar inclination when comes to political party.

Some may join parties of the ruling government while others the opposition.

In this respect, he hoped there would be no grouping among the teachers due to different political ideology.

"I am just worried of the repercussions (of the move to allow teachers to engage in politics) in Sabah," he said.

After achieving independence for more than 40 years, he said Sabah is still trying to catch up with the rest of the states in the country in terms of education.

Meanwhile, Pensiangan PKR deputy chief, Affendy Abdullah @ Angindih Tukang, described the decision to allow graduate education service officers to be involved in politics as an unwise move which would distract teachers from their duties.

"The announcement by the Chief Secretary to the Government was shocking, considering that the teachers' duties and responsibilities are already challenging which need their full attention.

"I agree with political analyst Prof. Aziz Bari that the Government's move is wrong and maybe a bit desperate on their side, to the extent of permitting teachers to join politics despite shouldering many responsibilities.

"This move is illogicalÉthe announcement has become a joke," said the former teacher, stressing that Regulation 21 of the Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993 must be abolished.

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