Speech by DAP Organising Secretary and Parliamentary Candidate for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, to DAP election volunteer workers at DAP Malacca Branch on Thursday, 24th April 1969 at 9.30a.m.:
Call for Inche Khir Johari’s resignation as Education Minister as he has proved to be unfit to look after the education of our children
At DAP public rallies, I had pointed out the injustice of demanding thousands of Chinese school teachers to pass the English-media Senior Cambridge examination within three years or face dismissal. I had pointed out that if Inche Khir Johari were to sit for the Senior Cambridge examination himself, he would be the first to fail.
But I had apparently over-estimated him. Inche Khir Johari confessed in Malacca yesterday, at Dewan Negeri Melaka while giving out $120,000 to 15 schools, that if he were to sit for the L.C.E examination, he would not pass also.
In fact, I have come to wonder whether Inche Khir Johari would pass the Standard V assessment Test if he sits for it!
Inche Khir Johari is the most illiterate Education Minister in the world, and it seems to be his ambition to ensure that the new generation of Malaysians becomes as illiterate as he is.
This must be one main reason why Inche Khir Johari has started the forced conversion of English-media primary schools into Malay schools by 1971.
Already, under the present system, Inche Khir Johari’s schools are producing semi-literate children. In the 1967 Standard V Assessment Test, shocking results were revealed. In Malacca State, for instance, in the English-media primary stream, 41 per cent of the students fail in the English subject, 32 per cent fail in the mathematics subject, and 33 per cent fail in the science subject. The percentage of failures in other states is even higher. In Perlis, for instance, 58 per cent of the students fail in the English subject, 55 per cent fail in the mathematics subject and 48 percent fail in the science subjects.
When Inche Khir Johari has forced all English-media primary schools to become Malay schools, the percentage of failure will be even higher, if not doubled. This is because about 85 per cent of the teachers in English primary schools will overnight become half-baked teachers, for they lack the command of the Malay language to communicate their knowledge to the pupils.
An Education Minister must be responsible for the educational standards of our children, and if the educational standards are shockingly low, then the Education Minister must be held responsible, and must resign because he has proved to be incompetent and unqualified.
The Standard V Assessment Test result is a clear proof of the shocking educational standards of Inche Khir Johari’s schools.
Just now, I gave figures for English primary schools. The figures for Malay primary schools are even worse. In 1967, for Malay primary schools, in the case of Alliance controlled Trengganu, 41 per cent of the students (Malay students) fail in the Malay language, 75 per cent fail in the English subject, 70 percent fail their mathematics and 64 percent fail their science.
It is no wonder therefore that none of the Alliance Ministers send their children to national schools. Many of them even send their children overseas for primary education!
What terrifies parents is the decision of Inche Khir Johari, who confessed that he could not pass the L.C.E. and who I have doubt about his passing the Standard V Assessment examination papers.
Up to this year, all the Senior Cambridge papers are marked by examiners in United Kingdom. Next year, the Alliance superman, Inche Khir Johari, wants to mark the Senior Cambridge papers himself.
I have great fear for all those who are in Form Four and below, because they will all be victims of Inche Khir Johari’s illiteracy, ignorance and racial bias.
Inche Khir Johari is clearly unfit to decide the education future of Malaysia and our next generation. I therefore call on him to resign on three grounds:
(1) We cannot afford to have semi-literate to be our Education Minister like Inche Khir Johari, who has self-confessed that he could not pass the L.C.E.
(2) The Standard V Assessment Test results have shown very convincedly that under Khir Johari, the educational standards have collapsed to an unprecedented low point.
(3) The parents have no confidence and trust in the impartiality and fairness of Inche Khir Johari in marking the Senior Cambridge and even L.C.E. examination paper, without racial bias and prejudice.