Fadhlina apologises over banning of Tamil songs incident

27 Nov 2023 08:32pm
Fadhlina - FILE PIX
Fadhlina - FILE PIX

KUALA LUMPUR - Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek today apologised to the Indian community over the banning of Tamil songs at the national-level Tamil Language Carnival in Kepala Batas, Penang recently.

She said the Ministry of Education (MOE) took full responsibility for the incident, adding that it should not have happened.

MOE has also taken strict action against the officer found to be negligent in handling the sensitivity, she said, assuring that such incidents will not recur.

"Therefore, in my capacity as the minister, I express deep regret and, on behalf of the ministry, would like to apologise to the Indian community offended by the circumstances, technical errors, communication lapses and all other intentions that occurred during the event.

"We take full responsibility...this matter was indeed unintended, unprecedented...there was absolutely no intention to marginalise any community,” she said when winding up the debate on the Supply Bill 2024 at the committee stage for the ministry in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Fadhlina assured that a song called 'Tamil Valthu' will be performed at the Penang-level Deepavali celebration on Nov 29 so that it can be appreciated by educators in the state.

In the meantime, she said, to further strengthen understanding of matters involving culture, traditions and religious practices, multiple discussion channels will be used including existing education committees and parent-teacher associations.

Previously, several Members of Parliament (MPs) and political parties have urged MOE to investigate the incident involving the ban on the performance of 'Kadavul Valthu' and 'Tamil Valthu' at the opening ceremony of the Tamil language carnival hosted by the ministry at a hotel in Kepala Batas.

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On the Dual Language Programme (DLP) implementation, Fadhlina said the guidelines for the programme remained unchanged.

She said schools that have fully implemented the DLP are allowed to continue, adding that the ministry will provide one non-DLP class next year to support the government's commitment to preserve mother tongues and the Malay language.

"Non-DLP classes are still important because we found during the visit to five schools (in the Federal Territory), that some schools did not achieve the proficiency level we desire, both in Malay and their mother tongues," she said.

According to her, the ministry has implemented various other programmes and policies to empower English through education in addition to the DLP.

Earlier, several MPs, including Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah (PN-Indera Mahkota), Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam) and Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin (PN-Putrajaya) raised concerns regarding the implementation of the DLP, which they described as unclear to parents and schools.

The Dewan Rakyat later approved the estimated management and development expenditure of RM58,726,459,600 allocated to MOE in Budget 2024, with a majority supporting it after being debated by 28 MPs. - BERNAMA