Moderate Modern Malaysia update: Malaysia’s Muslim owned and operated federal government has selected a Muslim to be in charge of the high-profile SMK [abbreviation for ‘National Public School’ in Malay] Convent Bukit Nanas, a well-regarded public high school that has been run by Catholics for its entire 112-year history. A large number of Malaysian Catholics are reportedly feeling ‘uneasy’ about the impending Federal government appointment. Of course this automatically qualifies these Catholics as racists, bigots and Islamophobes of the worst sort. Haven’t CAIR and the OIC and Hillary Clinton assured us all about how moderate, tolerant, freedom and peace loving Islam and Muslims are? After all, it’s not as if the Malaysian government has a barely-concealed policy of Islamic supremacism.
From “Unease grows over new head for top convent school”, by Debra Chong, The Malaysian Insider, 17 December 2011:
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 “” For Catholic Malaysians, Putrajaya’s latest
pick of a Malay-Muslim principal to head the prestigious SMK Convent
Bukit Nanas (CBN) underscores a worrying trend to disregard the Church’s
contribution and rights in the country.
Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam waded this week into
a growing row between the 112-year-old school’s Catholic owners and the
Ministry of Education (MOE) after its new principal Datin Seri Zavirah
Mohd Shaari’s surprise arrival at its doorstep.
“The appointment of the principal of CBN is not only contrary to the
government policy of maximum consultation but has given the impression
that it is the government’s strategy to take over the mission schools in
total disregard for the status, ethos and special character of mission
schools, especially CBN,” Pakiam (picture) said in a statement published earlier this week in Catholic paper The Herald.
He was appealing to Education director-general Datuk Seri Abdul
Ghafar Mahmud to reconsider the ministry”s decision and pick a suitably
qualified person nominated by the school owners under the Infant Jesus
(IJ) Sisters order. The school is considered among the top convent
schools in the country.
The case comes on the heels of a recent drama over the police’s extra
conditions for carolling permits on two South Klang churches less than
two weeks ago.
Earlier this year, right-wing Malay-Muslim groups triggered a
national uproar over persistent rumours that churches are on a campaign
to convert their own and pushing unfounded allegations of a secret
political plot to install a Christian prime minister in the next general
Christians say such issues are an attempt to erode their religious rights in Muslim-majority Malaysia.
Erode the rights of Christians? Who’s doing the ‘eroding’, exactly, and why are they doing it?
CBN, which has produced notable personalities such as Bersih 2.0
chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and former International Trade Minister
Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, is one of 60 convent schools in Malaysia, Sister
Rosalind Tan told The Malaysian Insider.
Tan is the mother provincial of the IJ Sisters and the person in charge of the order’s administration in the country.
She related that the school’s board of governors were taken aback
when Zavirah reported for duty last week because there was no prior
notice from the Education Ministry.
The previous head, Ann Khoo, retired last month.
Tan said this was not the first time the ministry had acted without
consultation, saying the issue had been going on for decades.
She said the order, as the school’s rightful owners, had a
responsibility to ensure the school head abided by its founding ethos
even though the operations were now managed by the federal government.
“We have no qualms about race or religion of the principal posted to our mission schools,” she said in an interview this week.
She said that Zavirah was not
school’s first lay principal, or the order’s first non-Christian school
head; but expressed disappointment that its nominees had been sidelined
by the ministry.
“What we want are principals who know what the mission school is and stands for,” she stressed.
In his statement, Pakiam highlighted that Zavirah had not been on a list submitted by the mission school authority.
He said the decision breached a previous government policy in the
1970s for “maximum consultation” with Christian mission schools
nationwide in a revised report by the Royal Commission on the Teaching
Services, West Malaysia.
The metropolitan archbishop added that former Prime Minister Tun Dr
Mahathir Mohamad, who was the education minister in 1976, had repeated
and affirmed the pledge in 1998 in a trip to Kota Kinabalu, to consult
mission school authorities over the choice of school heads and teachers.
The Malaysian Insider understands there are over 400 Christian mission schools nationwide.
Catholics, who make up nearly one million of the country”s 28 million
total population, have founded more than 250 such schools, including
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s alma mater, St John’s
Institution, which neighbours CBN.