I cannot agree with the stance taken by the Minister of Education YB Maszlee Malik, who stated in Parliament that opposition legislators must apply for permission from his Ministry via the relevant State Education Department Director before they can enter government schools.
MPs, ADUNs and local councillors are often invited to such institutions. They are important places in the civic life of our country.
Barring opposition figures from schools and other institutions of learning was one of the worst abuses under the previous Barisan Nasional government.
Many Pakatan Harapan legislators—including myself—fell victim to it.
Despite serving as Selangor State Exco for Education from 2014-2018, I was constantly barred from visiting schools there.
I was even prevented from speaking at my alma mater, KYUEM, allegedly due to political pressure on the school authorities.
On another occasion, I was forced to pretend to be a student—including riding into campus on a motorbike—in order to fulfil an invitation at Universiti Malaya.
Now that Pakatan Harapan is in power federally—it must continue to take the moral high ground.
There is no reason why we should adopt repressive practices and pettiness of the previous government.
We must trust all legislators—whatever their parties—to behave responsibly when carrying out their public engagements.
Action can of course be taken if any MP or ADUN abuse these platforms, such as by inciting racial or religious hatred or pushing a partisan agenda.
But in all other cases, legislators can and should be allowed into schools, colleges and universities when they are invited to do so.
I cannot understand why issues like this even arise in the New Malaysia.
The Minister ought to know better. He certainly should be more open-minded.
Pakatan Harapan must be different. We must do better in this and all things.
NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
PAKATAN HARAPAN YOUTH LEADER
KEADILAN CENTRAL LEADERSHIP COUNCIL MEMBER
SETIAWANGSA MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT