Tamil schools

Speech by DAP Candidate of the Serdang State By-Election Candidate, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, who is also the DAP Organising Secretary at a public meeting at Puchong Balai Ra’ayat on Sunday, December 1, 1968 at 6 p.m.

The Tamil primary school in Puchong was burnt to the ground yesterday. The school, which was built in 1947, had morning and afternoon sessions, and had classes up to Standard Five.

At the last general elections, the Alliance, and its candidates, new M. P. Mr. Michael Chen, promised to build a new school building for the Tamil primary school. But up till yesterday, when it was burnt down, no plans to fulfil the Alliance election pledge was made.

Now as the primary school had unfortunately been burnt down, I urge the Alliance government to immediately build a new Tamil primary school so that the students can continue schooling when the new school year begins in early January.

The new school should have classes up to Standard Six, and not only up to Standard Five, as at present.

One reason why Mr. Michael Chen had not been able to fulfil his election pledge to get a new school building for the Puchong Tamil primary school was probably because of the Alliance’s education policy – which is to eventually close down all Tamil primary schools.

There are already no more Tamil secondary schools. This is because the Alliance education policy was laid down in the Abdul Rahman Talib Education Report of 1960, which wanted only one system of schools – national schools with Malay as the sole medium of instruction and examination.

After the next general elections, all Tamil primary schools are bound to the closed down and converted into national primary schools, in furtherance of the Talib Report.

So, even if Mr. Michael Chen and the Alliance should succeed in getting a new school building for Puchong Tamil primary school next year, it will only be a matter of months before it is converted into a national school after the next general elections in the middle of the next year.

The Alliance does not recognise other languages, other than Malay, as Malaysian languages. The Alliance therefore wants to see Tamil, Chinese and English to decline in use.

This is wrong. The DAP wants multi-lingualism, and holds the view that Tamil, Chinese and English are already Malaysian languages by virtue of the fact that large numbers of Malaysian speak and use them.

The Gerakan’s language policy is the same as Alliance. It may say it support Tamil schools. But it declared that Malaysian literature must be written in Malay. It could not be written in Tamil or Chinese. In other words, the Gerakan want Indian children to go to Tamil schools, and yet when they come out from schools, and use Tamil to express his views or write books, the Gerakan will say this is not Malaysian literature.

The DAP is the only party which advocates multi-lingualism, for use in Parliament and State Assemblies, in public notices and government correspondence.

Audited by: Joyce T. and Faiz M.