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Enough is enough of Little Napoleons

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It surely comes as a big surprise that less than two weeks after the cabinet lifted the iniquitous illegal curb on non-Muslim religious clubs and societies that a Little Napoleon school head should unilaterally reject the application to set up a Chinese society in his school.

The Sin Chew Daily reported that parents of a school in Petaling Jaya are upset that its school head has rejected the application to set up a Chinese society in school.

A parent was quoted by the Sin Chew Daily that he had been fighting for the establishment of a Chinese society in his son’s school since February this year, but the school head did not give his approval even though there are Chinese language teachers willing to supervise the proposed society.

The Education Ministry has on 4 August 2010 revoked a decade-old directive compelling those who want to form non-Muslim clubs or societies in schools to first obtain its permission.

The federal government decision to revoke the directive came about following the public disclosure of several sham treatments of non-Muslim religious clubs and societies in several schools.

DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang, who was at the forefront in demanding for the removal all restrictions on the non-Muslim religious clubs and societies in schools, had contended that such a policy and practice were a direct contradiction of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia initiative to foster national unity among multi-ethnic Malaysians.

Kit Siang has pointed out that the discriminative policy is against Najib’s 1 Malaysia policy and the New Economic Model objective to educate a critical, creative and innovative generation of Malaysians

“What is the use of boasting about Malaysia as a model of ethnic, cultural, religious and biological diversity and Malaysia’s rich and unique cultural heritage when restrictions continue to be in place affecting the formation of non-Muslim societies in schools?” Kit Siang had asked.

Following widespread discussion and debate on the issue, with heightened political and social pressures, the federal government finally conceded to the public demand and revoked the controversial directive.

The month-long controversy was resolved about two weeks ago when the cabinet ordered the Education Ministry to withdraw the directive. Is it truly resolved?

Yet, one obstinate school head has been reported this week to be flexing his Little Napoleon muscles to abuse his authority to prevent the formation of a Chinese society in his school.

I had foreseen that such a scenario would happen. In one of my previous Comments, I said: “I hope the school heads, some of whom practise the Little Napoleon culture, will not make things difficult for the students who want to form such clubs or societies. In fact, the school heads should help the students by providing the meeting place and appointing teachers to be advisors to guide them. If there is the unlikelihood or improbability that a school may not have a teacher practising the faith of any such club, the school concerned should allow a pastor, a priest or a religious elder acceptable to the parents of the students to act as the religious advisor. The school should also allow speakers from the churches or temples to be invited to speak at the meetings of such clubs or societies.”
[Whose credit? Not MCA's, of course http://www.mysinchew.com/node/42891 ]

The latest complaint by parents of the Petaling Jaya school should not be taken lightly. How the federal government handles this case has far-reaching consequence to other schools, now and in future.

The federal government, through its Education Minister, should step in immediately to order the recalcitrant school head to stop his nonsense and carry on his duties without any discrimination and bias. If he doesn’t toe the line after a firm warning on the matter, disciplinary action should be taken against him. This is to send out the message loud and clear to other Little Napoleon school heads not to abuse their authority in running their schools according to their own whims and fancies.

Enough is enough! We have tolerated the nonsense by such Little Napoleons for far too long, and we want to see the federal government cracking the whip to bring the contumacious civil servants to toe the line.

If nothing positive and concrete is done to ensure that our civil service is unblemished and impeccable, as far as humanly and practically possible, then it will be a mere illusion that our nation can progress to a developed nation status.

For a start, the civil service needs a thorough mental revolution to ensure that the civil servants are neutral, impartial and non-partisan in the performance of their duties and in serving the elected government of the day.

For example, the recent case of state development office Nik Ali snubbing Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on an Umno platform should not simply be written off, without disciplinary action taken against the unruly officer for participating in a partisan political press conference held by Umno. It is most unfortunate that even the chief secretary to the government doesn’t understand the civil service culture and code of conduct, and condoned the violation of the principle of neutrality and impartiality of the civil service.

Of course, the enormous bureaucracy of the nearly million-strong Malaysian civil service will require a determined Hercules effort and time to reform, but it is not humanly impossible to change it.

In fact, one fundamental objective of the Nasjib administration is the transformation of the government machinery, which is basically the civil service.

The total transformation of the civil service can only happen from top down. The revamp must start from the top with the mental reconditioning, performance recasting, and image remodeling of the topmost civil servants.

Is Najib serious about the need for the transformation of the civil service? If so, he must start cracking the whip, and get the civil servants, especially the Little Napoleons, to toe the line. Enough is enough! We want to see concrete changes, not political propaganda.

MySinchew 2010-08-10


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