Mahdzir: Kemas staff involvement in politics an old practice

GUA MUSANG: The permission for Community Development Department (Kemas) staff to be involved in politics does not pose any issues as it had been the practice before, says Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.

The Rural Development Minister said this was because Kemas teachers and supervisors are not from the “DG” grade category, compared to teachers under the Education Ministry who have a staffing structure that involves positions at the management level.

Kemas is under his ministry.

“From the beginning, teachers could be involved in politics... in the Pakatan Harapan era, they issued a circular to stop (teachers from being involved in politics) where whoever held office would have action taken against them, whereas before that, there was no restriction,” he said in a statement here yesterday, according to Bernama.Last Saturday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said school teachers, as well as Kemas staff nationwide, were allowed to engage in politics with immediate effect, in line with their democratic rights.

In PETALING JAYA, Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) president Datuk Adnan Mat said it could become a bone of contention if only teachers are allowed to get involved in politics.

“Cuepacs feels it is necessary for the government to issue new circulars so that involvement in politics is also opened to civil servants in other service schemes.

“If only certain service schemes like teachers are allowed to get involved in politics, it looks a little awkward and could be disputed by other parties,” he said yesterday.

Adding that clearer rules must be outlined on the extent of involvement, he pointed out that the conduct of civil servants is subject to the Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993.

“However, Cuepacs hopes the permission to be political will not run contrary to the principle of ‘impartiality’ in the civil service or bring about a disharmonious atmosphere in the workplace,” said Adnan.The National Union of Heads of Schools president Lim Bee Khim is also concerned that if a student is indoctrinated with party politics at a young age, it could leave a lasting influence, according to a report in Sin Chew Daily.

Out of respect for their teacher, as well as being at an impressionable age, Lim said children could mistakenly think everything taught by their teachers (including their political views) is all true.

“Even for secondary school students, they could be easily influenced if their thinking has yet to mature,” she said.

Lim, too, pointed out that being involved in politics will take up a lot of a teacher’s time, which could potentially affect their teaching.

Like Adnan, she urged the government to draw a clear line on how much a teacher will be allowed to be involved in politics.

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Kemas , politics , Mahdzir Khalid


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