Police are not practising racial stereotyping in their ongoing investigations into the leak of UPSR examination papers, city police chief Datuk Tajudin Md Isa said today.
He was responding to claims by Indian rights group Hindraf of a racial witch-hunt following the arrest of 10 teachers from Tamil schools.
"During the course of our investigations, police arrested a Malay teacher in Terengganu. Does this mean we are targeting Malay teachers?" Tajudin asked.
"Does the arrest of a Malay teacher mean that Malay rights groups should come out and say that police are carrying out a racial witch-hunt?
"Police are colour-blind in carrying out investigations. If there is a necessity, we will also arrest Chinese teachers to facilitate our probe."
Tajudin said out of the 14 arrested since reports were lodged over the leaks, eight have been released on police bail.
"Arrests, interviews and recording of statements are part and parcel of the process in which we carry out investigations.”
Earlier today, Hindraf chairman P. Waytha Moorthy asked if there was a racial witch-hunt following the arrest of 10 Tamil schoolteachers.
"The leaked papers for the Science and English papers in the UPSR examinations were clearly from national schools," Waytha said.
"It has been widely reported by online and mainstream media that the UPSR examination papers in the Science and English subjects meant for national schools were leaked.
"The leaked science papers had code 018 whereas the leaked English papers had code 014.
"Both these codes are for national schools.”
He said the Tamil school exam papers carried codes 038 and 034 respectively for the Science and English papers.
"It must also be noted that the content of the exam papers for national schools differs drastically from vernacular schools," he added.
As such, Waytha asked if the Education Ministry and the police were embarking on a racial witch-hunt to pin the blame elsewhere in, particular, Tamil schoolteachers.
Hindraf had previously complained that Malaysia had over the years been systematically implementing racist policies.
"We wonder if this is yet another attempt to divert from the real weakness in the distribution and secrecy of examination papers by pinning the blame on those Tamil schoolteachers,” said Waytha.
"These teachers do not have any connection with the leaked Science and English papers which were meant for national schools.”
Hindraf also expressed shock at the lack of respect for those teachers arrested as they were forced to wear lock-up uniforms and taken to court to be remanded.
"This demeaning treatment should not have been meted out to those in a noble profession."
He called on the ministry to find those in charge of the examination syndicate and responsible for the safety and secrecy of the examination papers.
Waytha said the arrests of Tamil schoolteachers did not make sense as they had nothing to do with the leaked papers.
"It gives the perception Putrajaya is trying to do a cover-up.”
The leak of the UPSR papers has affected nearly 470,000 Year Six pupils, who will sit for the rescheduled Science and English papers at the end of the month.
Since they began their investigations last week, police have arrested 14 people, including an engineer and an insurance agent.
Of the 14, eight have been released on police bail after being interviewed by the police and having their statements recorded.
Four have been remanded to facilitate investigations and two teachers are also expected to be detained for more than 24 hours.
Police have also recorded 22 statements so far.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Education Minister II Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh both issued public apologies for the leak and postponement of exams.
Upon his return from an official visit to Laos last Friday, Muhyiddin announced that Examinations Syndicate Director Dr Na'imah Ishak and deputy director (operations) Dr Wan Ilias Wan Salleh were both suspended with immediate effect.
The UPSR leak apers is being investigated under the rarely used Official Secrets Act 1972. – September 20, 2014.