The threat by Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (PUTRA) to a school in Puchong to take down its Chinese New Year decorations or face legal action is certainly uncalled for and unprecedented.
Going by PUTRA’s twisted logic, all CNY decorations across the country would have to be taken down for purportedly being unconstitutional.
This is simply incomprehensible and downright illogical.
Firstly, to my knowledge, there has been no judicial pronouncement that any festive decorations in any public place, be it for Hari Raya, CNY or Deepavali or any other festive occasion, are unconstitutional.
Apart from its own interpretation of the Federal Constitution, PUTRA has failed to state if there is such a judicial pronouncement, which binds the actions of the school in putting up the said decorations unconstitutional.
As such, the school cannot be faulted for breaching any law in doing so.
Secondly and more importantly, there can be no question of such decorations requiring anyone to take part in any religious ceremony or worship any religion other than his own in contravention of Article 12(3) of the Constitution as we all know that CNY is not a religious occasion.
I have yet to hear of anyone forcing their religion upon anyone else on such festive occasions and I highly doubt that the said decorations contain any religious elements and were merely decorative in nature.
For time immemorial, Malaysians have enjoyed these festive occasions together as a people and such a tradition must continue.
I understand the principal of the school has agreed to take down the said decorations as according to her, they were put up without approval.
I wonder whose approval is required for such decorations to be put up in a school?
It would be most unfortunate if the school succumbed to the pressure of PUTRA and I urge the school principal to not take heed of PUTRA’s baseless threats and maintain the said decorations.
There is no doubt that PUTRA’s threat is baseless and no one should feel pressured to succumb to the same.
It is time for us to build bridges between races in this country at a time when racial tensions seem to be at an all time high.
The Education Ministry must launch an inquiry into this episode and set the record straight – that it is no offence to put up any decorations in schools during festive seasons such as Hari Raya, CNY or Deepavali.
We would be regressing if action is not taken swiftly.
Dated this 8th of January, 2020.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
CHAIRMAN NATIONAL LEGAL BUREAU
DEMOCRATIC ACTION PARTY