PETALING JAYA: There should be no hidden conditions for teachers to participate in politics, says the National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP).
Its secretary-general Wang Heng Suan said the government should make it official for teachers to be involved in politics.
“NUTP hopes that when a circular is issued on this, it doesn’t contain any hidden conditions that will result in problems for teachers later on,” he said in a statement.
He was commenting on the announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob that all schoolteachers under the Education Ministry nationwide are now allowed to get involved in politics.
Wang said a circular was issued by the ministry in 2010 which allowed teachers under Grade DG41 and 48 to participate in politics with the ministry’s consent. However, he said this was withdrawn at the end of 2021.
This ban was gradual and included a prohibition against teachers standing as candidates or holding political posts, he added.
Melaka-based education activist Datuk Ronald Gan said the decision to allow teachers to be involved in politics must be looked into from all angle.
“I’m all for freedom of speech, but we should also think of the consequences and the possibility of the formation of groups based on political affiliations as well as ethnicities,” he said yesterday.
Gan said politics should be kept away from education.
“For instance, if a teacher is actively associated with a political organisation, his political ideas may influence his teaching.
“The teaching profession should be apolitical and not play a role in indoctrinating students,” he said.
Gan, who is parent-teacher association chairman for SMK Bukit Baru and SMK St Francis Institution here, said he has been involved in educational programmes for a long time and knows how students have been influenced by teachers to hate certain political leaders.
“There were cases of teachers expressing their political opinions in classrooms,” he said.
However, Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) chairman Mak Chee Kin said teachers have the right to join political parties and they should be allowed to acquire skills to spearhead a progressive political environment.
He said guidelines should be issued by the ministry on this.