PENANG: Irked by criticisms on the alleged shortage of teachers, Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad has appealed to all quarters to trust him in managing the country's education.
“Without the trust, I might as well step down,'' he said in his speech at the ground-breaking ceremony of the RM5.6mil SJK (C) Min Sin in Relau yesterday.
Saying that he was not a “political” person, Musa said some politicians from opposition parties were quick to criticise his ministry without ascertaining the facts.
“Planning the country's education is not like giving a fresh coat to a car as this can be completed within a day.
“But in education, we need long-term planning and much thinking as at times, its effects could only be felt about 20 years later,'' he said.
He said a daily had published a misleading report on the alleged shortage of about 20,000 teachers in the country when in actual fact they were new teaching posts.
Speaking to reporters later, Musa challenged politicians from opposition parties to apologise to him for their unfounded criticisms on the alleged shortage of teachers.
Describing them as “naughty”, he said: “I know they will never do this and in fact will continue to heap criticisms without admitting that they are in the wrong.''
He said they should refrain from politicising education and instead allow education issues to be handled professionally by the ministry.
Musa said although there were unfilled teaching posts, it did not affect the students.
He said under the ministry's new “norm” to calculate teachers, he said those doing administrative work such as school heads, senior assistants and counselling teachers were not considered as teachers.
As a result of this, he said new posts were automatically created but they had not been filled yet as the “norm” was just introduced recently.
“While waiting for the posts to be filled up, the school heads, senior assistants and counselling teachers have been asked to continue teaching,'' he said.
At the function, Musa handed over a RM200,000 donation on behalf of the ministry to the school's board of governors chairman Dr Yee Thiam Sun.
He later visited SJK (C) Kwang Hwa in Sungai Nibong and opened the school's new four-storey block which was built at a cost of RM1.4mil.
Musa also handed over a RM200,000 donation to the school's building committee chairman Datuk Khor Teng How.
Among those present at the two functions were Bayan Baru MP Wong Kam Hoong who is also Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry parliamentary secretary and State Economic Planning, Education and Human Resource Development committee chairman Datuk Dr Toh Kin Woon.