Zairil Khir Johari
Sep 29, 2012
Outrageous defamation of Guan Eng in the STPM trial examinations is nothing more than a malicious personal attack based on fabricated lies and a shameless attempt at brainwashing students.
According to press reports, state-wide STPM trial examinations in Johor contain an inflammatory question-and-answer scheme that asserts the implication that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s “warning” to schools in Penang not to subscribe to Malay mainstream newspapers is “racist and impeding integration among races”.
The essay question requires students to discuss the hypothesis that “integration among races can be achieved through national education system, but various challenges have to be overcome to realise this objective.”
According to the alleged answer scheme, one of the answers to this question was:
“The warning of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to 84 Chinese primary schools in the state to stop subscribing to Malay language mainstream newspapers is a racist action that impedes integration among races”.
Such an attempt to implicitly accuse the chief minister of a racist action is outrageous because not only is it a malicious personal attack based on fabricated lies, it is also a shameless attempt at brainwashing students through politicising education.
In early April this year, the chief minister had in jest asked Chinese schools not to subscribe to Utusan and Berita Harian but to replace them with Sinar Harian instead, a national Malay daily that is more respected and objective in its scope.
This is based on the fact that the BN-controlled media such Utusan Malaysia and the official Umno website Umno-Online have repeatedly fabricated malicious lies and accusations against the chief minister, including allegations that his underaged son had assaulted a female classmate.
The arrogance of money
Even though such and many other allegations have been proven to be untrue, no apology or action from the authorities have been forthcoming.
As a result of this inaction, the chief minister had no choice but to bring the matter to the courts by filing two defamation suits against Utusan.
In both cases, the chief minister won and was awarded RM200,000 in damages.
However, RM200,000 appears to be loose change for Utusan for they have continued to defame the chief minister, safe in the knowledge that they can afford such damages.
With a proven history of defamation and lies against the chief minister, is it even right for schools to continue to subscribe to such a rag?
For the chief minister to be implicitly called a racist for this comment is both injudicious and misleading, when the chief minister had also “suggested” that the schools subscribe to Sinar Harian instead.
Is the latter not a Malay newspaper as well?
Finally, the politicising of education has to stop. In addition to the above, another examination question listed “joining the opposition” as one of the choices to the question, “Which of the following will cause a person’s citizenship to be stripped?”
Clearly, there is a concerted attempt to malign and influence young students against the Opposition.
This shameless case of brainwashing students is repugnant and akin to propaganda tactics used in Nazi Germany.
ZAIRIL KHIR JOHARI is special officer to the Penang Chief Minister.