Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP public rally to protest against government refusal to accord recognition to Nantah and Formosan degrees and qualifications held at Seremban on Saturday, 20th January 1973 at 9 p.m.
Call for the formation of a “National Action Committee to Secure Government Recognition of Nantah and Formosan degrees and qualifications” to launch a nation-wide movement to seek redress and social justice to the 10,000 Malaysian holders of these degrees
Every year, at the MCA Annual General Assembly, the MCA pass a resolution urging the Alliance Government to accord recognition to Nantah and Formosan degrees and qualifications. And every year, the Alliance Government, of which the MCA is a partner, will refuse to accord recognition. This has been going on for over a decade and the MCA’s empty gesture and lip-service without sincerity has become a great mockery of the great sacrifices and hardships hundreds of thousands of Malaysians have gone through to allow 10,000 Malaysians youths university education in the Nantah and Formosan universities and colleges.
The people are aware that such sorry states of affairs do not happen when it comes to UMNO General Assembly resolutions. For these resolutions, when passed, are acted on with dispatch and resolution as becomes a member of the ruling party.
This great contrast ban means only two things. Firstly, that the MCA has no voice in the high councils of state in the Alliance government and is merely a yes-man, a rubber stamp to give approval to whatever is decided by UMNO. Secondly, the top MCA leaders are themselves not convinced or interested in the righteousness of the demand for the recognition of Nantah and Formosan degrees and qualifications so that 10,000 Malaysian Chinese who hold these degrees can get their rightful place in Malaysian society, and cease to be regarded as step-children of outcaste.
In fact, it is note-worthy that on this grave issue of the recognition of Nantah and Formosan degrees and qualifications, the MCA President Tun Tan Siew Sin has not said a word either of support of sympathy.
This probably confirms the view circulating in some MCA circles that Tun Tan Siew Sin had never given his full-hearted blessing to this cause. We may not know whether this is the result of Tun Tan’ personal conviction that the Nantah and Formosan degrees and qualifications are not deserving of government recognition, or because he was acceding to prevailing UMNO opinion.
What we do know is that for the last 13 years that Tun Tan Siew Sin has been the Finance Minister, he has not ceased to impose one tax burden after another on the people while at the same time, refusing to accord to Nantah and Formosan graduates the monetary, social and academic recognition that they deserve.
Last year, the people and country were led by the speeches of Alliance and MCA leaders to believe that the government would at last accord recognition to Nantah and Formosan degrees and qualifications. But on Dec.20, in Parliament, the Education Minister, Dato Hussein Onn, dashed the hopes of the people to the ground when he announced the government’s unchanged stand in refusing to accord recognition.
We know that the Ministry of Education has appointed a committee to evaluate the academic standards of the Nantah and Formosan university degrees and qualification.
The people have a right to know on what academic basis the Alliance Government and Cabinet has refused to accord recognition to Nantah and Formosan degrees and qualifications, when many of these degrees enjoy international repute and standing.
It is quite clear that the Alliance Government is not treating the Nantah and Formosan degree and qualification solely on its academic merits, but as a political question.
The time has come for all those organizations and persons concerned about the injustice and inequality which is done by the continued government refusal to recognize Nantah and Formosan degrees and qualifications to do more than just protest and issue fierce statements.
They must join forces to mobilise public opinion to put pressure on the government to give justice and fair play to the 10,000 Malaysian holders of these degrees and qualifications.
I suggest that Guilds of Graduates of Nantah and Formosan universities and colleges should jointly convene a meeting to form a ‘National Action Committee to secure government recognition of Nantah and Formosan degrees and qualifications’.
Such a National Action Committee should comprise of representatives from Nantah Guild of Graduates, Alumni Association of Formosan universities degrees, clans of associations, political parties which are sympathetic to the cause of the recognition of the Nantah and Formosan degrees and qualifications.
This National Action Committee should plan out a series of activities throughout the country to launch a campaign to mobilise public opinion and put pressure on the Alliance Government to accord long-overdue recognition.
If such a National Action Committee is formed, the DAP will give every assistance and contribution.