Daily Express
INDEPENDENT NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF EAST MALAYSIA
Established since 1963
Outrage over peninsula teacher's Facebook remarks on Sabahans

Published on: Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: State Education Director Datuk Jame Alip appealed for calm Wednesday after a peninsula teacher posted what was deemed to be derogatory remarks on Sabahans in her Facebook account.

The teacher, one Nor Mastura, an Ustazah (religious teacher) posted to a Tenom school alluded that Sabah could not do without teachers from the peninsula and that Sabahans do not have what it takes to become teachers.

Netizens went on the offensive on Facebook in which someone also posted a photograph of the teacher but Jame played down the whole issue.

He called on all teachers in the State not to make anymore comments and spread them in the social media network.

The department is in the midst of investigating the situation and compiling a full report to be submitted to the Ministry for further action.

"We are aware of the comments made on Facebook over the posting Éthat is why a full investigation will be carried out and a complete report would be sent to the Education Ministry so that appropriate action can be taken.

"But I feel, actually, in this matter, it is a non-issue whether the teachers are from peninsula, Sabah or Sarawak because we are all Malaysian teachers.

"The issue of posting teachers to Sabah or Sarawak is a normal thing which is aimed at strengthening national integration," he told Daily Express when contacted.

Now, he said there are more Sabah teachers in the primary and secondary schools in Sabah, accounting for about 80 per cent while peninsula teachers posted here account for 10 to 20 per cent with some from Sarawak.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Jame said there were more peninsula teachers posted to Sabah because the State at that time was facing a shortage of qualified teachers, which is not the situation anymore.

SGTU Tenom branch chairman Jalal Maarof said they have issued the letter to the teacher on August 19, whose Facebook post was captured and disseminated on social media, triggering local outrage.

"For a profession which has to uphold integrity and teaching professionalism, such comments are disturbing and could affect the unity and national integration amongst the local Sabahan teachers as well as their counterparts in the Peninsula and Sarawak.

"If there is any dissatisfaction, there are appropriate channels to go through and not make it public on social networks, such as the Facebook," said Jalal in his letter.

Jalil also gave a 7 day deadline for the apology.

Previously, there have been calls to deploy local teachers in rural Sabah due to language and cultural differences faced by peninsular Malaysians posted to the locations.

It was also more costly to transfer a teacher from the peninsula to Sabah compared to employing a Sabahan teacher.