Fernandes, who is a Catholic, previously headed SMK Convent Sentul, which is also owned by the IJ Sisters, and SMK St Gabriel’s in the city, which is owned by the Anglican Church.
She replaces Datin Seri Zavirah Shaari, who was also newly posted to head CBN. Zavirah was taking over from the previous principal, Ann Khoo, who has since retired.
Tan, who is also on the school’s board of governors, said she had not received any letter from the Education Ministry informing them of the latest switch.
She found out only because Fernandes stopped by the Malaysian Catholic Education Council (MCEC) office to inform them of her new posting.
A spokesman from the MCEC, who asked not to be named, confirmed that Fernandes had reported last Friday.
“As their ‘norms’ go, the candidate receives the letter of appointment; we hear nothing, see nothing, and if it suits them, we (MCEC office) get a call. This is very, very seldom,” Tan said.
“Upon receiving their letter of appointment, they report for work in the school. If it is our candidate they will come by and see us. If it is their candidate, we will only know if someone in the school informs us,” she added, referring to the communication between the Education Ministry and the Catholic mission authority.
Fernandes, who was most recently posted to SMK Seri Ampang as its new head, was redeployed to CBN effective December 20 following a public furore raised by the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam earlier this month.
In an open statement published by Catholic newspaper The Herald, Pakiam highlighted that Zavirah had not been on a list submitted early this year by the mission school authority. He said the decision breached a previous government policy in the 1970s for “maximum consultation” with Christian mission schools nationwide in a revised report by the Royal Commission on the Teaching Services, West Malaysia.
The archbishop added that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was the education minister in 1976, had repeated and affirmed the pledge in 1998 in a trip to Kota Kinabalu, to consult mission school authorities over the choice of school heads and teachers.
There are over 400 Christian mission schools nationwide.
Catholics, who make up nearly one million of the country’s 28 million total population, have founded some 250 such schools, including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s alma mater, St John’s Institution, which neighbours CBN.