KUCHING: Some government officers, including teachers, are said to have publicly expressed political opinions during the recent 13th general election (GE13) even though it is against the government’s order, said Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing yesterday.
Although he accepted the fact that government officers were free to have different political opinions, he asserted it did not mean they could express such opinions openly if they were on the government payroll.
“Apparently, some did during the GE13. You cannot do this publicly unless you are members of a political party.
“My advice to government officers, including teachers, is to follow instructions of the government of the day. As long as you are on government’s payroll, you can’t go against the government,” he said when contacted yesterday.
According to Masing, he made similar remarks when officiating at a thanksgiving ceremony to celebrate the victory of Sri Aman MP Masir Kujat, who is PRS supreme council member, at Rumah Faizal Edmund, Engkeramut yesterday.
He pointed out this was to defend an earlier statement he made on Friday that certain civil servants, especially teachers, were having anti-establishment stance as they thought they knew everything.
Sarawak Teachers Union (STU) advisor William Ghani Bina, when responding to the statement, said teachers in the state were generally supportive of the government of the day but they too had rights to voice their disagreements to unfair government policies.
Ghani, who led STU since 1987 until he stepped down last month, said lack of promotion and difficulties in getting transfer from rural schools were two factors which frustrate teachers in the state.
STU president Jisin Ngud also said teachers being government servants should support the government of the day but he concurred with Ghani that they had the right to voice out their concerns, especially on certain policies.
Meanwhile, the thanksgiving ceremony at Rumah Faizal Edmund, Engkeramut was held to celebrate Masir’s re-election as Sri Aman MP. Masir, now into his second term, won the polls by a majority of 6,550 votes in a four-cornered fight.