PETALING JAYA: Forcing opposition politicians to get permission from the Education Ministry to visit schools or education institutions is akin to an abuse of power, said Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.
The former PKR youth chief pointed out that one of the worst kinds of power abuse by the previous Barisan Nasional government had been the barring of Opposition members from visiting schools.
“Although having been the Selangor state executive councillor for education, I had been banned from visiting schools in the state,“ he said in a statement today, adding that many members of the opposition had been victims of such a practice.
Nik Nazmi said he was prevented from speaking at his alma mater Kolej Yayasan UEM due to political pressure on the college’s administration. There was also an occasion when he had to pretend to be a student in order to attend an event at Universiti Malaya.
Based on his experience and those of other opposition members, Nik Azmi disagreed with Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik’s statement that opposition members needed to obtain approval from the relevant state education directors to be allowed to visit schools.
The Setiawangsa MP said MPs, assemblymen, and state exco members have always been invited to such institutions, and schools are important places for the civic life of the country.
Nik Nazmi said now that Pakatan Harapan was in power, it needed to act with integrity and high moral values and not continue with the practice of oppression and suppression.
“We, Pakatan Harapan, must be different from the previous administration, we must be fair not only in this issue but also on every other issue,“ he said.
He added that elected representatives have to be trusted to act responsibly when involved in a public discussion and that action can be taken if any of them uses this platform to incite racial or religious hatred or to spread party propaganda.
He said opposition politicians should be allowed to enter schools, colleges and universities when they are invited, adding that issues like this should not arise in the ‘New Malaysia’.