Nantah and Formosan qualifications, the Merdeka University and the MCA College

Speech by DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, to members and supporters in Tangkak, Johore, on Thursday, September 19, 1968 at 8 p.m.

Nantah and Formosan qualifications, the Merdeka University and the MCA College.

During the 1964 general elections campaign, an Alliance Minister solemnly pledged that the government would inquire into the standards of Nanyang University to see if it could be accorded recognition after the general elections.

More than four years have passed, and the next general elections is approaching. But the Nantah qualifications, and the Formosan qualifications, have still to be considered by any government committee for recognition.

We expect Alliance Ministers to begin making new promises about Nantah and Formosan qualifications with the approach of the next elections. We also expect these promises to be broken promptly after the next elections.

To the MCA, which claimed to be sole guardian and champion of Chinese rights, education, language and culture, the fate and future of 10,000 Malaysians who have, or will soon get, Nantah or Formosan qualifications is immaterial.

Not only was the MCA unable to help these Malaysians get government recognition, and earn a decent living, high MCA officials have described this as a “communal” problem. To the MCA, the Nantah and Formosan graduates must be blamed for creating this problem by going to Nanyang and Formosan universities for further study.

The DAP urges the Alliance to seriously treat this problem of 10,000 Malaysians as a national problem, and to take immediate action to find a solution to the long-standing issue.

We recommend a two-point solution:

1) IMMEDIATE recognition or those degrees which are of international repute; and
2) FURTHER educate, at government expense, other degree-holders, through intensive orientation courses, to upgrade the standards of qualifications without international repute.

Lest I be accused of being a Chinese chauvinist, let me state clearly that the same principle above should be used to solve the problem of the unrecognised degrees of Indian, Indonesian, Middle-Eastern or any other University.

If the government is really sincere and has the interest and welfare of the Malaysians at heart, this problem can be solved within three months. If in the near future, any Alliance Minister or MCA leader should publicly state he is concerned about this problem, he must be exposed as a hypocrite.

The problem of Nantah and Formosan qualifications is one of the many problems facing Chinese education and students from Chinese education stream.

In 1966, the then MCA Secretary-General, Mr. Khaw Khai Boh, said that the MCA will “survive or perish with Chinese education and language.”

Yet, which organisation spearheaded the condemnation and opposition to the Merdeka University project? Which organisation fully supported the Alliance’s education policy, which will finally eliminate Chinese-media primary schools? Which organisation supported the government measure which has led to the abolition of government-aided Chinese-media secondary schools? Which organisation opposed Chinese as official language, or even as a language for official use? Which organisation opposed the use of Chinese in government correspondence, in television sub-titling, on government notice boards?

It is MCA, from first to last.

However, is an attempt to win votes, the MCA got the government to support the establishment of an MCA College.

Although everyone knew that the MCA College was a political stunt of the MCA, MCA leaders at first tried to deny. However, it was left to Inche Senu bin Abdul Rahman, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, at a Perlis UMNO meeting, to confess that the MCA College was a project to “win back Chinese support after the rejection of the Merdeka University” by the MCA.

We are not opposed to the College, but we are opposed to the use of $10 million of public funds to support the project.

By giving $10 million to the MCA college, the government has in fact contributed $10 million to the MCA general elections campaign fund. This is because the project will be used by the MCA to get votes in the next elections.

Nobody, of course, knows whether after the general elections, the MCA College will continue, and if so, whether in its present form and shape.

The MCA College under its present form, clearly does not conform with the Tun Razak and Talib Reports, which aimed at turning all educational institutions, at all levels, into Malay-medium ones.

It is therefore not impossible that the MCA College will, after the next general elections, only have Malay as the sole medium of instruction and examination.

The DAP therefore opposes the giving of $10 million to the MCA Political College.

We call for the withdrawal of this money, and its donation instead to the Merdeka University, which is a genuine people’s effort to contribute to higher education.

The Merdeka University project is non-political, and multi-racial. It is meant to provide an outlet for students from the Chinese-media stream, as the National University is aimed at providing outlets for children from national schools.

Only those who are opposed to a multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-racial society can oppose the Merdeka University. Unfortunately, this is what the MCA stands for: rejection of Malaysia as a multi-lingual society.

The DAP supports the Merdeka University because we advocate cultural democracy, where all languages, cultures and races are equal. We urge the people to gave every support to the Merdeka University, to make it a credit to a multi-racial society.

Audited on 2021-04-28.