From The Star 29 July 2010:
PM: Teachers strengthen leadership
By DHARMENDER SINGH and V.P. SUJATA
PUTRAJAYA: Allowing graduate teachers to take an active part in politics will strengthen political leadership in the country, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Najib said graduate teachers were generally well respected within the community where they serve. He said the knowledge and position they have would allow them to contribute towards creating better political values.
“I would like to see intellectual qualities in the leadership at the grassroots level – one that is based on non-materialistic values,” he told a press conference after launching the “Tun Abdul Razak The Father of Development – A Telling of the Story” programme here.
Father figure: Najib standing near a paper cut-out of his late father, former premier Tun Abdul Razak during the exhibition at Putrajaya International Convention Centre, Putrajaya Wednesday.
On fears that factionalism would result, he said:“We are reverting to how things used to be (when teachers were allowed to be involved in politics).
“I do not feel teachers will act in too extreme a manner because they are mature in their thinking,” he said.
Najib said he hoped teachers would not neglect their role as educators.
On whether the government would look at allowing other categories of public servants to actively take part in politics, he said, teachers do not hold executive positions that might see conflicts of interest in the decisions they make.
“We will look at whether to extend it to public servants in other categories,” he said.
On the programme about his father, he said it was good for the young to understand the struggles of leaders in the past. It is the brainchild of some of the friends of the second prime minister.
Najib described his father as a man who was always committed to his duties and said Tun Razak’s good administration was based on his ability to identify the right person for the right job.
In Seoul, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said he hoped that graduate teachers who were allowed to engage in politics would help the Barisan Nasional government.
Other government employees can’t do politics, because they have access to sensitive information and decisions.
But teachers can be an even more powerful influencing force – thousands of students over the years, a ‘captive audience’ who will be fed the teacher’s political views day in, day out. You see it all the time already in the USA.
And will teachers as government employees be permitted to support the Opposition? Even if they officially are, will they dare to openly do so knowing that their big boss currently hails from BN?