The directive against Penang schools participating in the 58th Merdeka Day celebrations organised by the state government issued yesterday, stays until further notice.
Education Minister Mahdzhir Khalid said it was not appropriate for the state government to have a different Merdeka Day theme than that decided by the federal government for the country.
"Our theme for this year is 'Sehati Sejiwa' (One heart, one soul); we should celebrate Merdeka Day in unity, regardless of our political background. It has nothing to do with politics," he told reporters.
He said this after opening the Koperasi Felda Lubuk Merbau Kedah Bhd annual general meeting in Padang Terap today.
Mahdzir urged Penang to accept the theme, as had other states including Kelantan and Selangor.
Yesterday, the Penang Education Department issued a circular directing all schools in the state to refrain from participating in any 58th Merdeka celebration or parade, pending further instructions from the Education Ministry.
Meanwhile, Mahdzir said the schools in Felda Lubuk Merbau, namely, SMK Lubuk Merbau, Sekolah Agama Bantuan Kerajaan Lubuk Merbau, and SK Lubuk Merbau had been allocated RM80,000; RM250,000; and RM10,000 respectively.