The three UMNO Vice Presidents, UMNO Ministers and the mainstream media, both printed and electronic, should publicly apologise for distorting the position of the Conference of Rulers on SARs and DAP calls on the Cabinet tomorrow to restore per capita funding for SARs until a decision is taken on the Murad Special Committee report on the issue
by Lim Kit Siang
The clarification yesterday by the Keeper of the Rulers' Seal, Engku Tan Sri
Ibrahim Engku Ngah "that the Conference of Rulers has not yet made any
decision pertaining to the Sekolah Agama Rakyat (SAR) issue" has cleared
the four-day confusion on the position of the Conference of Rulers on the
issue after its meeting last Thursday.
Friday's mainstream printed media, for instance, gave the most prominent treatment to the story, with three national dailies carrying front-page headlines, viz: "Rulers endorse Government's solutions on Islamic education" (New Straits Times), "Majlis Raja-Raja restu - Penyelesaian isu pendidikan Islam termasuk SAR" (Berita Harian) and "Langkah kerajaan direstui - Majlis Raja-Raja diberi taklimat khas mengenai sekolah agama rakyat" (Utusan Malaysia). Bernama carried the headline "Rulers Council Endorse Gov't Proposal On SAR" while The Star report appeared in Page 2 with the heading "Rulers Council endorses Govt plan on SAR".
In the event, PAS acting president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who is also Parliamentary Opposition Leader and Terengganu Mentri Besar, has been proved right when he said he did not trust newspaper reports quoting Engku Ibrahim on the Ruler's decision and that he would refer the matter to the Rulers to get a better view of their stand.
Hadi was backed by the PAS spiritual leader and Kelantan Mentri Besar, Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat that the Conference of Rulers which met last week did not discuss solutions forwarded by the government on Islamic education issues. He said he was equally baffled how a statement that the Conference of Rulers had endorsed the matter was issued.
Nik Aziz said he accompanied Sultan of Kelantan Tuanku Isman Petra throughout the meeting of the Conference of Rulers and he was very sure the issues were not raised.
The clarification by the Keeper of the Rulers' Seal yesterday has give an authoritative and definitive account of what transpired and the actual position of the Conference of Rulers on SARs as Engku Ibrahim made the following four points:
It is most shocking that the clarification of the Conference of
Rulers had been blacked out by two of the three mainstream media which had
earlier blazoned on their front-page the false story that the Conference of
Rulers had endorsed the government's stand on the SAR issue.
The three UMNO Vice Presidents, UMNO Ministers and the
mainstream media, both printed and electronic, should publicly apologise for
distorting the position of the Conference of Rulers on SARs.
DAP calls on all Members of Parliament, whether Barisan Nasional, Barisan Alternative or DAP take a common and united stand to urge the Cabinet tomorrow to restore per capita funding for the SARs until the Murad special committee had submitted its report and a final decision made after the fullest discussion and debate by the government, Parliament and the civil society.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman