KUALA LUMPUR: The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) has praised the government for its swift response in taking a right stand over the Chinese New Year decorations issue involving the secondary school in Puchong.

Its president Tan Sri T.C Goh especially commended Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail for leading a delegation of ministers, deputy ministers, and lawmakers to show support for the school for putting up the Chinese New Year decorations.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Wednesday issued a statement to say that the public school in Puchong which had put up decorations for the upcoming Chinese New Year had in no way caused religious propagation.

It said the Cabinet had during a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Wednesday discussed the issue and found that the school did not caused religious propaganda by using Chinese New Year decorations.

“The Cabinet views seriously the actions by certain parties that have stirred racial and religious issues by lodging a police report against SMK Pusat Bandar Puchong (1) in Pusat Bandar Puchong for putting up Chinese New Year decoration.

“It is not religious in nature and is not a way of spreading religion,” the statement read.

The PMO added that the Cabinet disagrees with the racist and extremist attitudes of certain parties as it undermines racial unity in the country.

Earlier this week, lawyer cum Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) vice-president Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz threatened legal action against the school for supposed excessive Chinese New Year decorations, which he said had upset several Muslim parents.

He even claimed the decoration to be “unconstitutional” and that Muslim parents had complained about the decoration, which they see as an attempt to propagate a non-Islam religion to students.

Khairul later said the school principal, Rohani Mohd Noor, promised in an email reply to take down all the Chinese New Year decorations, which she did.

In a response issued on Thursday, Goh urged the government to instruct the Ministry of Education to take measures to prevent politicians from both sides of the divide from meddling in school affairs, so as to prevent such an incident from recurring in future.

He stressed that being an important institution in instilling the values of racial unity and harmony in our young generation, the school should always hold the fort and not to be easily manipulated by unscrupulous individuals, politicians included.

“We all have a shared responsibility to keep racism and religious extremism out of the schools,” he asserted.

While expressing support for the police in conducting a thorough investigation on the incident, to ascertain whether there was any subversive element by the perpetrator, Goh hoped all quarters could keep calm and move on to focus on matters that are more positive and constructive towards nation building.-pr/BNN