Education Minister Maszlee Malik has taken to social media to emphasise that his ministry never issued permission and approval for the distribution of the comic book 'Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for Win Winism' to educational institutions including schools.
"The State Education Department and District Education Office have been instructed to ensure that all schools do not accept and distribute this comic book from any party or provider.
"Schools are neutral educational institutions and should not be the place for political propaganda," said Maszlee in a Facebook post tonight.
Maszlee was responding to former premier Najib Abdul Razak who claimed that the book who being used to spread DAP and communist propaganda in schools.
Penang-based Asia Comics and Cultural Museum curator Hew Kuan Yau said the comic book was a proper publication which has been registered with an International Standard Book Number (ISBN).
The publication (above) is a collaboration between Hew and local artist Chong Po Ling, popularly known as Tomato.
He confirmed that the Malay version of the comic was sent to libraries in secondary national and vernacular schools for free.
"The content is a good analysis on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), it is not a DAP or communist propaganda.
"This is for the students to know more about the mega-policy of BRI, from theory to practice," Hew said earlier, highlighting the fact that the book was presented to top Chinese leaders like China president Xi Jinping by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in April this year.
In his Facebook post yesterday, Najib asked Maszlee if his ministry had allowed for the comics to be distributed to schools.
Najib alleged that the museum, which is based in Komtar and funded by the Penang government, was spreading propaganda in secondary schools.
"The propaganda in the comic book glorifies DAP, and gave the impression that the Malaysian government was a hypocrite in its treatment of communists.
Penang Deputy Chief Minister II and executive councillor for education P Ramasamy also denied that Hew was spreading party and communist propaganda in school, saying "he is no longer a DAP member".