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Media Statement (2) by Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP MP for Ipoh Timur Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Tuesday, 15th January 2008:

English College JB backs down from imposition of songkok as compulsory wear for school prefects for non-Malay students

At 20:56, 19 hours yesterday, on my thread “Songkok compulsory wear for JB English College prefects”, a blog visitor left the following posting:

However, as far as the “EC prefect wearing songkok issue” is concerned, I am surprised that no one has yet posted that the issue has been resolved amicably as the headmaster himself has announced today during an emergency prefects meeting that it is NOT compulsory for the prefects to wear the songkok for whatever function or duty.

This morning, I phoned and spoke to the principal of Maktab Sultan Abu Bakar (formerly English College) Johor Bahru, Haji Zulkifli bin Mahmood and he confirmed the veracity of the posting on my blog – that he had announced that it is not compulsory for school prefects to wear the songkok for whatever function or duty.

I welcome the return to sanity, as the compulsory imposition of the songkok issue has attracted considerable flak and traffic on my blog with three threads and 359 comments in four days, viz:

1. Songkok compulsory wear for JB English College prefects (11.1.08) – 133 comments

2. Songkok made compulsory – latest in series of insensitivities usurping “middle ground” (11.1.08) – 87 comments

3. Suspend “Little Napoleons” school principals who trample on rights and sensitivities of plural Malaysia (12.1.08) – 139 comments

I commend the parent of the school prefect who not only gave full support to his son, a Form Five student who had been a prefect since he was Form Two, to stand firm on principle to the extent of being prepared to resign as school prefect and for bringing this issue into public domain to bring public pressure to end abuses and misuses of power and rank disregard of the legitimate rights and sensitivities of all communities and religions in plural Malaysia.

The lesson here is clear – Malaysians must stand up for their fundamental and constitutional rights as citizens of a plural nation as nobody will stand up for them unless they are prepared to come forward to speak and cry out against excesses and abuses of power. If they do so, they can be assured of the support of right-thinking middle-ground moderate Malaysians and my blog will continue to provide the forum to defend our fundamental constitutional rights.

* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman


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