Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a joint meeting of the Bukit Bintang DAP Brach and the Pudu DAP Branch at the Bukit Bintang DAP Branch premises at Jalan Treacher, Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, 24th Oct. 1971 at 8 p.m. at the end of his two inspection tour of the Bukit Nanas constituency
The basis problems of Chinese Education in Malaysia
For the past several weeks, Chinese school teachers and the Chinese press have been pre-occupied with the Aziz Report and its recommendations.
Much as the Chinese teachers should fight for improved salary scales, and much as the public should support them, the Chinese school teachers should never lose sight of the basic problems and issues of Chinese education in the country.
It would not matter at all whether a Chinese school teacher opts into, or stays out, of the Aziz salary scales, if in a few years’ time, the Chinese primary schools should die out, whether by natural of unnatural death.
For the last two years, there had been a great and sharp increase in enrolment in Chinese primary schools. Basic problems Chinese school teachers should study is whether such rise in enrolment in Chinese primary schools is a trend for the future, or whether it is a freak development and that in a few years’ time, there will be such a sharp drop in enrolment as to endanger the existence of Chinese primary schools altogether.
Further, is the education future such as to promote the continued existence of Chinese primary schools, or is it likely to lead to the eventual decline and death of Chinese primary schools?
These are very basic problem. For if in a few years’ time, Chinese primary schools close down one by one whether because of political or socio-economic reasons, then teachers who opt for the Aziz salary scale or stay out will be in the same boat of having their rice bowls broken.
It is therefore imperative that the Chinese school teachers, educationists and educational bodies should now take a lead to study the problems and future of Chinese education in Malaysia, so that not only they themselves, but the people, can prepare for the future.
It is equally important that teachers and educational bodies should be able to differentiate between basic and non-basic issues and problems.
I therefore seriously urge Chinese educational bodies to sponsor a national conference on the problems and future of Chinese education before it is too late. I believe that these two, three years will decide the final fate of Chinese education in Malaysia. Let not the fate of Chinese education be decided by default of the courage and leadership of Chinese educational organisations.