SINGAPORE: Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Friday (Oct 27) called on schools to monitor Palestine Solidarity Week activities, local media reported.
This was after images of teachers and students toting toy guns and dressed as Palestinian militants went viral on social media.
Speaking to the media in Selangor, he said that such matters need to be controlled, according to Bernama.
“We discussed this in the Cabinet meeting earlier today. First, we encourage the organisation of such programmes, but we won’t force all schools to participate. Secondly, we need to ensure that it doesn’t become a problem,” he said.
In a statement on Friday, Malaysia’s Malaysia’s Ministry of Education (MOE) said that the use of replica weapons or symbols containing provocative and confrontational elements as part of Palestine Solidarity Week was not permitted.
“The Education Ministry encourages activities that support humanitarian issues such as peace-themed video screenings and poster painting competitions, recital of humanitarian poetry and fundraising for the Palestinian people to be carried out throughout the week,” MOE said.
“All institutions under the ministry have been asked always to follow the organising guidelines. The Palestine Solidarity Week should be used as a platform to educate students about noble values, tolerance, compassion and mutual respect,” it added.
In one video that went viral on X and TikTok, a man is seen dressed as a militant and armed with a replica rifle at a school.
He leads a procession of other adults, some of whom are waving the Palestinian flag or wearing scarves in support of the Palestinians. Another woman is also seen aiming another replica gun.
Students of various ages can be seen sitting on the floor in the background.
The footage caused concern among users of the social media platforms.
The ministry said that it was aware of public concern regarding the viral pictures and footage.
It said the activities depicted in the images did not follow its guidelines and were also conducted before the start of Palestine Solidarity Week.
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