Sarawak minister slams state DAP for being inconsistent over teacher recruitment issue

Goh Pei Pei

KUCHING: Sarawak Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah has slammed the state DAP today for inconsistency in raising the issue surrounding the teacher recruitment issue.

She questioned why the party was trying to turn a non-issue into "something else", as if to plant the seed of distrust and suspicion towards the state government.

“We can’t do something like this (raising racial issue) because this will make our community become fragile,” she said.

Fatimah was referring to the case where DAP state chairman Chong Chieng Jen had accused Sarawak Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) of vetting applications from non-Muslims who wanted to be school teachers in Sarawak.

Despite her explanation on Friday, she said Chong continued to raise the matter by changing the question to why Sarawakian was not selected after applying in employment portal, Jobs Malaysia.

Fatimah, who is the caretaker minister of Sarawak’s education affairs, said an applicant identified as Wong Wang Yuen had applied for the post of Education Service Officer

(DG41) that was advertised by the religious department through the state government’s e-recruitment system, however, had been rejected as she was deemed unsuitable for the post.

“She (Wong) is a Mathematics teacher, thus, she’s not suitable for the post (advertise by JAIS),” she said when met at the Pongal Festival celebration at the Kuching Waterfront here.

“First, he (Chong) questioned why the recruitment of teachers need to be filtered by JAIS. Now, he’s asking why Wong is not recruited…, I sympathised with Wong too as she had been used as a tool (by the opposition) for some other intention,” she said.

On the recruitment of education service officer, she said, is being monitored and filtered by Education Service Commission (SPP) which is an independent body.

“SPP is the one to decide and to appoint a teacher. Not even the Minister or Ministry can interfere. I had explained the issue professionally and I hope it can be accepted (professionally) too,” she said.

Therefore, she urged Chong not to sectionalised it into something else which could affect the unity of Sarawak's multiracial society.

“I’m also a half-Chinese and a half-Melanau, who enjoys peace and harmony in the country and I hope we can continue to preserve it.” she stressed.