The allegation that a school principal in Johor used racist remarks against non-Malay students during a Merdeka celebration at her school is indeed serious that needs to be probed thoroughly and action taken if found to be true. Only severe punitive measures will deter others from resorting to such behavior in the future. Such a behavior coming from a person who molds the young is regrettable and should not be tolerated. Moreover it is sad that the alleged racist remarks were uttered at an auspicious occasion to celebrate 53 years of our nation’s independence.
While we are glad that the school head had apologized for her mistake but the authorities should go a step further to see why such derogatory racist remarks are made by those in respectable positions from time to time and take definitive steps to prevent such irresponsible acts once and for all. These people may in the minority but being a multiracial and multi- religious nation we can least afford to have such people in our midst. Such a prejudiced attitude especially among the people in positions of power and influence would be a real hindrance to the 1Malaysia concept advocated by the Prime Minister.
Teachers are among the most important people who can shape the future of the nation as they yield considerable influence on the young minds of their students during the formative period in their lives. The future well-being of our multi-ethnic nation depends very much on what we teach them today in keeping with the saying which we are all familiar “We reap what we sow”
If we want to reap racial unity and harmony we have to sow the seeds of that unity now among the young. In this regards, it is of utmost importance that teachers keep emphasizing to their students on the need for mutual understanding, respect and tolerance among the various ethnic groups in the country for their respective cultures and believes. Without these, the unity among the races, which we all claim to want, will forever remain a dream.
It is important to educate our children on certain important facts of life in our country if we want long-term peace and harmony. They must be taught that all races are here to stay as they are born and bred here. They are all here to share the good and bad in the country they call their motherland as most of them have never set foot on a foreign land. They should be taught to accept one another as equal citizens with equal opportunities to contribute to the wealth and heath of the nation. Furthermore the rights of all citizens are clearly enshrined in the Federal Constitution and should not be questioned anymore for whatever reasons.
Teaching is a noble profession and teachers, in particular the school heads, should in words and deeds be role models not only for their students but for the other junior teachers under their command. Their attitude to inter-personal relationship should reflect sound human values that respect the dignity of man regardless of his race, creed or social status. If teachers themselves look down with spite on those different from them how can you expect their students to treat with respect those different from them?