KUALA LUMPUR — With the Palestine Solidarity Week in full swing, Malaysia’s Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek has released a list of dos and don’ts for schools organising events for the week-long campaign.
According to the guidelines released on Monday (Oct 30) on X (formerly known as Twitter), “refraining from extremist rhetoric” tops the list of don’ts, with firearms and weapons that could be seen as symbols of provocation and violence being expressly prohibited.
Notably, the guideline also noted that it should not be “heavily one-sided” and urged institutions to provide a fair perspective on the ongoing issue even though the purpose of the programme was to show solidarity to Palestine.
The guideline also called for participants to avoid blaming any community or religion, such as typecasting any group of people or faith for policies and decisions made by individuals.
Other don’ts include refraining from manipulating facts, avoiding activities that may incite confrontation and partisan politics, and avoiding the use of symbols that can cause controversies.
As for the recommendations, Ms Fadhlina advised participants to focus on humanitarian values and peace, even going as far as to suggest inviting speakers who could share factual statements on the ongoing conflict.
She also advised participants to promote understanding by portraying Palestine in its current state and hold charity drives.
Open dialogue to discuss the issue from various perspectives are also welcomed, Ms Fadhlina said.
On Oct 26, the ministry announced a Palestine Solidarity Week will be held at all education institutions nationwide under the ministry’s purview from Oct 29 to Nov 3.
Calling it a necessary intervention to be implemented among students, the ministry said that the programme is in support of the Malaysian government’s stance to continue together defending the rights and freedom of the Palestinian people.
However, controversy erupted last week over the initiative when pictures and videos emerged online of school students wearing the Palestinian keffiyeh (traditional Middle Eastern headdress) and brandishing replica guns, including some that showed the children pretending to shoot imaginary targets.
This caused Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to say that such events must be closely monitored to prevent things from going out of control.
Mr Anwar has advocated strongly for Palestine in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, previously claiming he was pressured by the West for this position. MALAY MAIL