DAP proposes deferment of decision to make Oral Bahasa Malaysia compulsory in MCE examination next year.

Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, when officially opening the Malim Nawar DAP Branch in the Kampar Parliamentary constituency on Sunday, 2nd April 1972 at 5 p.m.

DAP proposes deferment of decision to make Oral Bahasa Malaysia compulsory in MCE examination next year.

When the MCE results were released last week, there was a student in Penang who achieved eight distinctions but who failed to get a certificate because of his failure in the Bahasa Malaysia paper.

His was not the only case. Almost in every time, there are quite a number of students who did well in the rest of the subjects, including distinctions in a number of them, who still failed.

This is clearly a most unsatisfactory state of affairs. It is ridiculous to fail a student, who has scored distinctions in difficult subjects like science and mathematics because of inability to pass a comparatively easier paper – Bahasa Malaysia.

It is clear that there is something basically wrong in the educational or teaching system concerned. There is no reason why there is so many students every year who fail the MCE, not because they are not academically brilliant-since they get distinctions in science and mathematics, but because of Bahasa Malaysia.

In fact, for a student who can get distinction in mathematics and science, I have no doubt whatsoever that if he is given proper teaching facilities in Bahasa Malaysia, he would have no difficulty in getting a distinction in Bahasa Malaysia too.

The fault must be found in the educational and teaching system concerning Bahasa Malaysia in our schools, both secondary and primary.

It is common knowledge that in many secondary and primary schools, students are not getting the proper teaching and study facilities in Bahasa Malaysia. The main reason is the insufficiency of teachers really qualified to teach Bahasa Malaysia.

Thus, in the national-type (English) primary schools, which are now being converted into national schools using Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction and examination, teachers are required to teach in Bahasa Malaysia although they do not know the language at all.

When I raised this grave matter in Parliament, the Education Minister, Inche Hussein Onn, said that the Minister of Education has organized three-month in-service Bahasa Malaysia courses for all teachers.

Three-month courses are clearly insufficient to equip a teacher, who knows hardly any Bahasa Malaysia having been himself educated in English and trained to teach in English, to master Bahasa Malaysia and teach fluently in the language. The victims are the pupils who are not getting the standard of teaching and education they deserve.

As a result, the overwhelming majority of non-Malay students had to take tuition outside school for Bahasa Malaysia. For the poor, who already find it difficult to keep their children in school, and cannot afford the extra expenses of tuition, their children are handicapped.

This is a system of injustice and inequality. The DAP had from the beginning opposed making Bahasa Malaysia a compulsory paper in MCE, unless and until there are sufficiently qualified teachers to teach Bahasa Malaysia in primary and secondary school.

In this connection, it will be noteworthy that one of the foremost champions for making Bahasa Malaysia a compulsory paper in MCE is none other than Pekemas president and Member of Parliament for Batu, Dr. Tan Chee Khoon.

The Ministry of Education has announced that beginning with next year, Oral Bahasa Malaysia will be compulsory. When not all pupils can cope with a written Bahasa Malaysia paper, to further require the compulsory taking of oral Bahasa Malaysia will only aggravate the situation.

The DAP calls on the government to defer its decision to make Oral Bahasa Malaysia compulsory in MCE examination from next year.

The DAP also calls for a review of the implementation of the Bahasa Malaysia teaching in secondary and primary schools, to stop blindly implementing a policy although there are not sufficient teachers qualified to teach Bahasa Malaysia. Otherwise, an entire generation of Malaysians will be the victims.

Finally, the DAP calls on the Government to give school places to every candidate who had failed the MCE solely because of the Bahasa Malaysia paper to repeat the examination.