KOTA KINABALU: Prime Minister Dato Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob may have unwittingly raised many eyebrows when he announced that teachers who had hitherto been banned from getting involved in politics are now allowed to do so in the name of democracy. It is certainly a bad move.
The fact that he did not give any convincing reasons for lifting the ban gives rise to various interpretations which may be undeservedly negative.
A teacher’s duties in the classroom are already onerous and demanding and to fulfil them requires his or her full attention and dedication.
Among the duties are to impart knowledge, and nurture and encourage the children to be the best they can be.
It is also their duty to help mould their character, build confidence and imbibe good values so that they can eventually serve King and country.
These duties will most likely be compromised if teachers are allowed to be involved in politics which often is divisive in nature. It will give rise to political propaganda and this could have a negative impact on the primary purpose of education.
It could also lead to conflicts with fellow teachers, principals, and parents.
This then defeats the purpose of education which is to produce a good citizenry.
Until now, the people have not been prevented from participating in the political process through the ballot box. So, why the need now to fix what is not broken?
In any profession, when core values and tasks are mixed with non-core activities, there are bound to be conflicts that will blur the lines between the two.
This could lead to a situation where unscrupulous individuals may resort to questionable means to win political points.
It is hoped the Government will delay implementing this decision until this matter is fully debated, especially in Parliament.
An informed decision can then be taken. There is no reason to rush into a decision whose merits and demerits have not been fully discussed by a cross-section of the peoples elected representatives as well as those of the parents. That is indeed the democratic way.
TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE,