Will the 8,000-odd primary school teachers in English-medium primary schools be dismissed?

Speech by DAP Organising Secretary and Parliamentary Candidate for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Public Rally in Segamat Town on Thursday, 17th April 1969 at 9p.m:

Will the 8,000-odd primary school teachers in English-medium primary schools be dismissed following the implementation of the Abdul Rahman Talib Report to close down all non-Malay schools by 1971?

As provided by the Abdul Rahman Talib Education Report, the Alliance blueprint to close down English, Chinese and Tamil schools, the Alliance has decided to mass convert all English-media primary schools into Malay-medium primary schools by 1971.

The Alliance government has already started this process of forced conversion of English-medium primary schools into Malay schools, although very few parents know about this.

Beginning this year, four subjects in Standard III in English-media primary schools are taught in the Malay language: arts and craft, civics, physical education and singing and music.

From next year, Standard Four students will be taught history and geography in Malay. In 1971, Standard Five students will learn their mathematics and science subjects in Malay.

The Alliance government has started forcing all English-media primary schools to become Malay schools, without consulting the wishes of the parents and seeking their agreement.

This Malay-isation of all non-Malay schools will lead to be drastic lowering of educational standards. It will also breach the fundamental right of Malaysian parents to send their children to the language school of their choice.

Alliance and MCA Ministers are fond of boasting that Malaysian parents could send their children to any language school of their choice. But by 1971, Malaysian parents would have no other choice but to send their children to Malay schools, because English-media, Chinese and Tamil schools would have all been eliminated.

This mass conversion will load to a drastic lowering of educational standards of our children, because the 8,000-odd primary school teachers will overnight become unqualified teachers.

These 8,000-odd primary school teachers are products of English schools, trained to teach their subjects in English. But if they are now required to teach their subjects in Malay language, at least 85 per cent of them will not be able to do it well, because they lack command of the Malay language. In other words, these 8,000-odd qualified teachers in the English language. When the teachers are half-baked, then the school children are bound to be one-quarter baked.

This will harm our children. But even more important, what will Inche Khir Johari, that great hater of teachers, do to the overwhelming majority of the 8,000-odd English primary school teachers? Will he dismiss them on the ground that they have become incompetent teachers in the Malay language? Will the 8,000-odd teachers meet the same fate as the 20,000-odd Chinese school teachers, who are required by the Aziz Commission Report to pass the Senior Cambridge examination, in three years or face dismissal? Will the 8,000-odd teachers be required to pass Malay Standard III or face dismissal?

Inche Khir Johari should give an explanation to both points I raised above.