H.S.C. places should not be denied to successful M.C.E. candidates with good grades

Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP public rally at Fettes Road, Tanjong Bungah, Penang, on Sunday, 25th March 1973 at 10 p.m.

DAP call on Minister of Education to give public assurance that H.S.C. places will not be denied to successful M.C.E. candidates with good grades

March 19, 1973 will go down in Malaysian history as one of the blackest days, when the M.C.E. results were disclosed with the shockingly high rate of failures, merely because of failure in Bahasa Malaysia. Up till today, the Ministry of Education has not given details, including how many students failed the M.C.E. just because of failures in one Bahasa Malaysia subject. However, based on the past figures of failures in M.C.E. just because of Bahasa Malaysia, I would estimate that this year, the total number of failures will be from 10,000 to 20,000 candidates – which is no small figure.

While the students, parents and the public are agitated by this unjust M.C.E. education system and mount up pressure for a public inquiry and a radical overhaul of the system, those who are fortunate enough to pass the M.C.E. will face their problems shortly.

Last year, large numbers of students who had good grades in the M.C.E. could not find places in H.S.C. classes. In fact, it was common to see M.C.E. first graders loitering around, because they could not get opportunities to join H.S.C. classed and with their M.C.E. certificates could find no jobs. This is another grave injustice in the entire education system in the country.

A decade or two ago, holders of M.C.E. certificate could find job easily. Today, they can only join the army of unemployed. If these youngsters, who have the academic ability to go for university education, are denied chances to do pre-university courses, then they will be condemned to secondary jobs for the rest of their lives.

I therefore call on the Minister of Education to give a public assurance that H.S.C. places will not be denied to successful M.C.E. candidates with good grades, and that at least, every M.C.E. first grader would be offered a H.S.C place in school.

Further, I also urge the Minister of Education to permit the thousands of the students who, if not for their failure of Bahasa Malaysia, would have qualified them to go up to Sixth Forms, to give these students places in Form Six classes, with the proviso they repeat the Bahasa Malaysia paper.

During the National Day celebrations last year, the Alliance Government’s slogan was to build a ‘Masharakat Adil’ – a Just Society. It is time the government, especially in the vitally important sphere of education which affect the entire future of our children, to prove by deeds that they really cherish and desire a ‘Masyarakat Adil’.