Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, when closing the one-day DAP National Seminar on Chinese Education held at Seremban on Sunday, 6th February 1972 at 6 p.m.
The Future of Chinese primary and secondary schools
The Minister of Education is empowered under the 1961 Education Act to convert all national-type (Chinese) primary schools into national schools, using Bahasa Malaysia as the media of instruction.
Clause 21 (2) of the 1961 Education Act reads:
“Where at any time the Minister is satisfied that a national-type primary school may suitably be converted into a national primary school he may be order direct that the school shall become a national primary school.”
In his reply to my speech in the Dewan Ra’ayat on 10th January this year opposing the 1972 Education (Amendment) Bill which seeks to wind up School Boards of Managements and Governors, The Minister of Education, Inche Hussein Onn, said that the question of the conversion of national-type (Chinese) primary schools into national schools will be decided in the next two or three years.
There are many questions which lovers of Chinese education must ponder, discuss and seek out solutions.
Thus: 1. Will the Government in two or three years’ time, as suggested by Inche Hussein Onn, make use of the powers vested in the Minister of Education under the 1961 Education Act convert all national-type (Chinese) primary schools into national primary schools.
2. If national-type (Chinese) primary schools are converted into national primary schools, how can Independent Chinese secondary schools survive, without of Chinese primary school students?
1. Will it be possible, when all national-type (Chinese) primary schools have been converted into Chinese primary schools, for lovers of Chinese education to establish independent Chinese primary schools, or will the government claim, that it is not the government policy to allow independent primary schools, as Inche Hussein Onn has State that it is not government policy to allow private University when I asked him about the Merdeka University in Parliament two days week?
2. In these circumstances, will Independent Chinese secondary schools last another five or ten years?
3. What will be the fate of the Chinese School teachers when the government converts all national-type (Chinese) primary schools into national primary schools using Bahasa Malaysia as the media of instruction?
These and other questions closely related to the future of Chinese primary and secondary schools should be closely considered and discussed by educationists, Chinese educational bodies and Malaysians who have Chinese education close to their heart.
They should also seriously consider the practicability of some national-type (Chinese) primary schools rejecting full-government assistance, if in a few years time, all Chinese primary schools are going to be converted into national primary schools. This will prevent all Chinese primary schools from being commented.