Speech by DAP Organising Secretary, Mr Lim Kit Siang, to the Johore DAP State Committee at Kluang , Johore on Saturday, July 20 at 4 p.m. at a meeting to review party expansion in the state and election preparations:
The Chairman of MCA Working Team on Higher Education Planning, Mr. Khaw Khai Boh, called a press conference last Sunday to announce MCA plans for a $20million MARA-type feeder college for Chinese school leavers.
At the same press conference was the Minister of Education, Inche Khir bin Johari, who immediately announced the Alliance Government’s blessing for the MCA project and recognition of its qualifications.
It was obvious to everyone that this was a purely politically-motivated move to try to win back some political popularity for the MCA.
Mr. Khaw claimed that the MCA college will have a multi-racial student population and be multi-lingual in its media of instruction.
This is precisely the same objectives of the sponsors of the Merdeka University as far as the Merdeka University project is concerned – multi-racial in student composition and multi-lingual.
Yet the Merdeka University project was condemned by the Alliance and the MCA, while the MCA college was praised sky-high.
Can Mr. Khaw Khai Boh and Inche Khir bin Johari or any top Alliance leader explain why double standards were used with regard to these two education projects?
We do not grudge the blessing the government is giving to the MCA College. Although it is politically motivated, if the MCA College can make a little contribution towards giving post secondary education to young Malaysian, nobody can object.
But how does the intake of 240 students a year solve the grave national problem of tens thousands of school-leavers without opportunities for further education?
Surely, the MCA College can supplement the efforts of the Merdeka University, to absorb secondary school-leavers to put them through higher education to fit them for more useful roles in Malaysian nation building.
At the same press conference, Inche Khir bin Johari described the MCA College as being “in line with the government’s policy of encouraging the private sector to contribute towards education.”
Can Inche Khir bin Johari explain how the MCA College qualify, and how the Merdeka University project fail to qualify, to be in line with “private sector contribution to education?”
Surely, if one is to compare to two projects, the Merdeka University project is genuinely “private sector” contribution, while the MCA College is “political sector” contribution.
Between the two, the Merdeka University is more deserving of help and encouragement, because ordinary Malaysians are involved in the effort. The MCA College can be looked after by all the tycoons, millionaires and multi-millionaires in the MCA.
Alliance and MCA leaders are in the habit of trying to shift the responsibility of their failures, whether in politics, economics or education, onto the shoulders of others.
An excellent example was given by Mr.Khaw Khai Boh, in a statement which appeared in the press Thursday (18.7.68).
Mr Khaw had said :
“Students of all races will be considered (for the MCA college), and preference will be given to those who have been handicapped in pursuing higher education not because of their own fault but because of the historical evolution of the education system since colonial days.”
Mr Khaw is talking utter nonsense. He must be reminded that all present secondary-school leavers are the products of the Alliance’s post-Merdeka education policy.
If these students are handicapped, it is not because of the evil colonial policy, but because of the failures of the Alliance education policy, which was first implemented 13 years ago in 1955.
The Alliance must do all they can to help these “handicapped” students. The intake of 240 students a year is a mere pittance. It should therefore, in educational interest of Malaysians, stop playing politics with the educational problems of Malaysians.
We earnest urge the government to give the immediate help to Merdeka University project as it is giving to the MCA College.
The government can do so by the following methods:
(1) Join sponsors of the Merdeka University in the planning and building of the Merdeka University;
(2) Give financial assistance to the Merdeka University project on a dollar for dollar donation basis as in the case of the MCA College project;
(3) Extend tax-free exemptions for all donations to the Merdeka University;
(4) Recognise in principle the qualifications of the Merdeka University.
We invite the government, and MCA leaders in particular, to explain why they want the Merdeka University abandoned.
We invite them to explain why they oppose the government giving the same treatment to the Merdeka University as is promised to the MCA College.
Audited on 2021-03-29.