PERTH, AUSTRALIA - Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has apologised for the actions of the Federal Territory Education Department officers who locked out 70 parents when they tried to convene an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of the school's Parents Teachers Association (PTA) recently.
They were due to discuss the reversal of the Teaching of Mathematics and Science in English (PPSMI) policy last Saturday.
'I apologise to the parents as it is not fair to them,' he said. 'They wanted to discuss an important issue and were doing so in a proper manner. They were not doing it in the streets,' he told Malaysian media during a breakfast meeting at the end of his five-day working trip here yesterday
'I am not a dictator and the PTA can submit their memorandum to me,' he said, adding that he would also seek feedback from the community on the possibility of introducing a flexible approach to the policy.
When contacted, the ministry's director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom said the PTA was not allowed to convene an EGM as its agenda to discuss the PPSMI policy placed the school's teachers in a tight spot.
'Some PTA members are teachers and it isn't proper for government servants to hold a discussion in school regarding a policy that has been approved by the Cabinet,' he said.
Alimuddin also said the parents were free to send a memorandum to the ministry as all views on the issue were welcomed.
The school's PTA vice-chairman, Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, was surprised to receive the minister's apology. 'We're very happy as holding an EGM is a PTA's right,' she said.
'His apology shows that he is listening to the rakyat and noting their sensitivities. It is 1Malaysia in action where people come first,' she added.