GEROGE TOWN: All schools in Penang are banned from joining state-level Merdeka celebrations until further instruction from the Education Ministry.
When contacted, an official from the state Education Department communications unit confirmed that its director Datuk Osman Hussain sent the directive to all schools in Penang Thursday.
This letter has since been leaked and is going viral on social media.
Deputy Chief Minister (II) Prof P Ramasamy (pic) said he was told that the Department found fault with the use of the word "bersih" in this year's Merdeka slogan for the state.
"That surprised me. Our slogan this year is 'bersih, cekap dan amanah' (clean, skilled and trustworthy). What is the problem?" he asked.
Ramasamy said he suspected that the Department was concerned that the use of the word "bersih" would be linked to the Bersih 4.0 rally slated for Aug 29 and 30.
"This is a national celebration of our country's best event. In past years, schools and federal bodies have paraded with state agencies happily. Why mar it with politics?" he said.
State assembly speaker Law Choo Kiang, who is the state Merdeka celebrations organising chairman, said the move was irrational.
"Instead of encouraging schools to parade and show their patriotism, the Ministry blocks them. What message are they sending to schoolchildren?" he questioned.