MELAKA: Lunar New Year ornaments are set to embellish religious and secondary schools in Bukit Katil parliamentary constituency here.
Bukit Katil MP Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Md Akin, who is also Deputy Primary Industries Minister, said he has asked his team to work with two school authorities to be decked with colourful Chinese New Year decorations.
“This was an eleventh-hour decision to have such decorations at one each of a religious and secondary schools in my constituency to showcase our diversified culture.
“We have already two vernacular schools in my constituency holding multi-ethnic Chinese New Year celebrations before Chap Goh Mei, ” he said when met after his visit to Putra Specialist Hospital (PSH) here on Friday (Jan 10).
Shamsul Iskandar, who is also the chairman of PSH’s board of directors, took a tour to see the facelift made by the hospital under the stewardship of CEO Chong May Lee who had successfully turned the state government-owned medical institution into a profitable organisation in less than a year.
He said the move to get non-Chinese schools to join in the festive celebration was aimed to preserve the rich harmonious landscape of Melaka.
“It’s wrong to link Lunar New Year to a religious celebration and previously there were no such issues and we even celebrated the festive seasons jointly by coining the words like “Kongsi Raya” and “Deeparaya” in the 1990s, ” he said.
He was commenting on a recent incident when Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia vice-president Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz had claimed that the decorations put up at SMK Pusat Bandar Puchong 1 in Selangor was “unconstitutional” and that Muslim parents had complained against what they saw as an attempt to propagate a non-Islamic religion to students.
Shamsul Iskandar said naysayers should understand Malaysia’s strength is her multi-ethnic society and this fact can’t be changed.
“It’s not about Pakatan Harapan leaders supporting one community and neglecting another as we need to preserve our unity.
“I have previously attended inter-faith dialogue sessions in China and I know for a fact that Lunar New Year has no affiliations to religious elements.
Meanwhile, Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) said academicians, especially school principals, should oppose any attempts to create divisive racial narratives in schools without feeling intimidated by bigots.
Its chairman Mak Chee Kin said there is no such religion as Chinese faith as the community is a diversified society professing faiths like Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism and Christianity.
He added Koreans and Vietnamese also celebrate Lunar New Year.
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