Free spectacles for blind politicians

Edmond R | May 12, 08 4:45pm


It was a case of the blind leading the blind when the Penang State Education Department denied Dr P Ramasamy, the state’s Deputy Chief Minister II, the opportunity to distribute free spectacles to 223 poor students in Penang recently. The reason cited by Deputy Education Minister Dr Wee Ka Siong was that they did not want the students to be disturbed during school hours and that schools should not be turned into political platforms.

Both the Education Ministry and the State Education Department must either be blind or too shortsighted to see the usefulness of this social programme. How do they expect these students to follow lessons in the classrooms if they can’t see well? How can they relate a sincere effort like this to politics?

Because of the ministry’s own political insecurities, 223 students are now unable to receive their much needed spectacles and be on par with other students in their quest for knowledge.

Clearly, this is another case of political retribution by the Federal Government to frustrate the Penang government’s effort to improve the lives of the people. I am sure even the blind can see through the Education Ministry’s rhetoric and political game plan.

The Education Minister should take a few moments to reflect and see which party is being more political? Is it the state government, whose sole intention is to provide aid for needy students or the ministry, who is trying their very best to stop this effort? This preposterous claim is like the pot calling the kettle black. Unfortunately in this case, it will be the students who are on the losing side.

I have always thought that the Education Department is a apolitical entity. Obviously this is not true as their current action clearly reflects their bias and affiliation towards a certain political party. The final proof came when it was revealed that the free spectacles programme was actually started by the previous state government and it did not encounter any resistance from the Education Department back then.

Perhaps the Education Minister would like to step up on the podium with his keris and explain to us once again the aim of our national education policy. When I was in school, we were taught about fairness, equality and justice. Perhaps the education system has regressed back to the feudal days when children were inculcated with values of hate and retribution?

‘Your parents did not vote for us in the general elections. I have come to take away your spectacles so that you cannot follow the lessons on the black board. Mua ha ha ha ha!” shouts the warrior as he rides away into the sunset, waving his keris triumphantly.

Barisan Nasional has been in power for fifty years and yet they still cannot differentiate between politics and administration. State education departments are being used as command posts to further their political aims and schools are being converted into propaganda factories.

On the other hand, the new Pakatan Rakyat state governments have shown their potential and capability to govern with equality and justice within three short months.

Therefore, I strongly urge the state Education Department to allow the programme to be carried out without any hindrances. Let these children have their spectacles. Let them see and learn about benevolence and fairness, instead of hate and retribution.

And to all politicians, blind or otherwise; please remember that four years is going to pass by very quickly.


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