Thursday, February 2

`Wrong of Masing to step on teachers’ toes’


KUCHING: PKR Sarawak said Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing should apologise to all teachers for his recent criticism of them being anti-government.

Its information chief Vernon Aji Kedit said Masing did not have the right to question teachers’ knowledge about the General Orders of the Civil Service nor insult the intelligence of civil servants in general.

“In my many dealings with civil servants, I found them to be helpful and cooperative despite them knowing I’m from the opposition.

“They have shown their impartiality and neutrality to a very professional and satisfying standard,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

Last Friday, Masing chided certain civil servants, especially teachers, for their anti-establishment attitude because they think they know everything ‘just by looking at certain files and documents and start telling people’.

The following day, he charged that some teachers had publicly expressed political opinions during the recent 13th general election (GE13) even though it is against the government’s order.

Although government officers are free to have different political opinions, Masing asserted, it did not mean they could express such opinions openly if they were in the payroll of the government of the day.

Vernon said Masing should remember that there were also teachers who openly supported the government.

“But then again he should remember that during the campaigning period in the recent general election, the government had been dissolved, so neither BN nor Pakatan Rakyat was the government or opposition.

“Therefore, teachers were not bound by the General Orders to maintain their neutrality at that time, but Masing missed this point and went on a rampage to vilify teachers.

“This is uncalled for and he must apologise to them.”

Vernon said he agreed that civil servants, including teachers, must not frustrate the execution of the policies of the government of the day.

“Civil servants must always remain neutral and impartial and do their work in implementing the policies of the government of the day.

“Teachers are duty-bound to educate and impart what is morally right and academically sound to their students in the classrooms and not to promote any political party’s agendas, be it BN or PR.

“However, it is not for BN ministers to publicly insult their intelligence by telling them to support the government. These are educated people with minds of their own who know what to do.”