The Education Ministry is investigating if any ministry “insiders” were responsible in allowing the distribution of controversial comic 'Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for Win Winism' in schools.
Education Minister Maszlee Malik said today that a probe has been ordered to determine how the comic by former DAP member Hew Kuan Yau found its way into public school libraries.
In a statement on Facebook, Maszlee reiterated that the book did not receive authorisation from his ministry.
“The Education Minister will not allow the distribution (of the comic) in schools under the ministry.
“I have also ordered the Education Ministry to quickly investigate if any individuals, including inside parties, were responsible for allowing the comic to be distributed in schools.
“The ministry will ensure tough action is taken against anyone (found responsible) if this allegation is proven,” he said.
He added schools which have already received a copy of the book have been instructed not to distribute it.
“The ministry will never compromise on any party who try to use schools as cheap propaganda tools.”
The minister further called on DAP leaders to discipline errant members who have spoken against the government’s decision to ban the book from schools.
Labelling the book - a collaboration between Hew and local artist Chong Po Ling, popularly known as Tomato - as “propaganda comic”, Maszlee advised dissatisfied DAP members to toe the government line
“I also advise DAP members who are dissatisfied with the government decision to adhere to the spirit of rule of law and collective sensibility.
“I also urge DAP leadership to discipline members so they respect the government’s decision and to adhere to the constitution, as well as laws of the country.”
The issue first arose when former premier Najib Abdul Razak highlighted the matter, claiming the comic was being used to spread DAP and communist propaganda in schools.
It was later confirmed that Bahasa Malaysia version of the comic was sent to libraries in secondary national and vernacular schools for free.
Liu was ‘rude’
Hew, a former DAP member known by the moniker “Superman” and who is also Penang-based Asia Comics and Cultural Museum curator, claimed his comic was a proper publication registered with an International Standard Book Number (ISBN).
He said the book was intended to encourage school-going children to learn more on the BRI by China and further claimed a copy had been presented to top Chinese leaders like China president Xi Jinping by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in April this year.
The Prime Minister’s Office later released a statement saying Mahatir had no role in presenting to book to Xi, while the Home Ministry stated there were several aspects of the publication which were “not right”.
On a separate matter, Maszlee censured DAP’s Sungai Pelek assemblyperson Ronnie Liu for “putting down” other parties in the ruling coalition.
Liu had penned a statement yesterday in which he criticised Mahathir over his premiership and Bersatu, of which Mahathir is chairperson.
“The action of putting down other component parties, such as that done by Ronnie Liu is rude and unfounded.
“Such culture of cheap politics will only erode the situation. It will bring division and stunt the reformation agenda we are implementing,” Maszlee said.