The controversy over the novel Interlok may be rekindled after a headmaster used a derogatory word during school assembly.
NIBONG TEBAL: The controversy over national laureate Abdullah Hussain’s Interlok novel is not over yet.
A school headmaster here has sparked a fresh public row over the demeaning word “pariah”.
SMK Tunku Abdul Rahman headmaster Ng Tong Koang, 56, has allegedly used the word to tick off parents of the schoolchildren for making a prohibited “U-Turn” at a nearby traffic light.
Ng has allegedly used the word during a morning school general assembly yesterday.
Two reports have been lodged against Ng over the past two days at the Nibong Tebal police station.
One was lodged by state MIC Youth chief J Dhinagaran yesterday morning and the other by Hindraf Makkal Sakti’s Nibong Tebal deputy chief P Murugan.
Murugan claimed Ng had told the students at the assembly that their parents were recalcitrant for flouting traffic rules by making prohibited dangerous U-Turns at a traffic light junction just outside the school.
Ng allegedly told the students that making “illegal U-Turns” were dangerous, especially when schoolchildren are crossing the road.
“I have been telling your parents not to make the illegal U-Turns. Why are your parents not listening?
“Are your parents pariahs?” he allegedly asked to the stunned children at the assembly.
Ng’s alleged use of the word “pariah” word angered Indians in the neighbourhood as the news spread via whispering campaigns and mobile text messages.
Accompanied by several local Hindraf activists, Murugan also submitted a copy of his police report to the Seberang Perai Selatan district education office in Jawi.
He wants the district education officer to take stern action against Ng.
He also called on the state education department to issue a circular to all schools in the state to avoid repeat of such incidents.
Murugan said that Ng’s utterance of the derogatory word was a direct result of the introduction of Interlok novel in schools.
Hence, he said that Hindraf’s anti-racism campaign was crucial to halt further polarisation of Malaysians along racial lines.
“The state-sponsored racism has definitely spread to the schools.
“As a headmaster, Ng should have realised that the word would stir racial sentiments,” said Murugan.
When contacted, Dhinagaran told FMT that Ng has admitted to uttering the word at the assembly and apologised to him and his party colleagues at the school office yesterday afternoon.
“We have expressed our aversion to him and he was apologetic. He said he did not mean to insult Indians or any other communities.
“He only wanted to use a strong word to scold the stubborn parents,” said Dhinagaran.
Ng was unavailable when contacted for comment.
Similarly, attempts to contact the district education officer were futile as the office line was always busy.
The rally's estimated to be 100 000 people gathered outside the Petronas Twin Towers at midnight, early Sunday morning.At least 240 people were detained, but half of them were later released. One day before the rally, police arrested three HINDRAF lawyers, P. Uthayakumar, P. Waytha Moorthy and V. Ganabatirau for sedition charges. Uthayakumar and Ganabatirau posted bail of 800 Malaysian ringgits each, but Waytha Moorthy refused bail as a sign of protest.