Press Statement by Ketua Pembangkang, Lim Kit Siang, on 26 March 1973:
Call on all students, parents and educational organisations to make their voice heard and felt by the authorities against the gross injustices of the MCE examination system.
I am glad that a few school boards of management, old boys’ associations and students have acted positively by publicly making their views and voice heard and felt by the authorities against the present gross injustices of the M.C.E. examination system – where tens of thousands are failed just because of Bahasa Malaysia despite a string of distinctions in other subjects.
Even more students, parents, old boys’ associations and school management boards must take up the public call urging the Ministry of Education to institute a public inquiry into the MCE examination system and to give conditional passes to all those who have failed just because of Bahasa Malaysia paper.
More information which has come in has shown how empty and hollow are the views of those who say that the students are themselves to be blamed for their lack of sufficient interest in the subject.
I have just received a memorandum from Jerantut, where there is 100% failure of all the non-Malay students who sat for the M.C.E. last year from Sekolah Menengah Jerantut – although many of them scored distinctions in other subjects.
In a memorandum which all the unsuccessful non-Malay students of the Jerantut Secondary School has sent to the Minister of Education, the results of all the students in Bahasa Malaysia subject in L.C.E. examination, Form IV school final examination and during the 1972 School Trial M.C.E. examination were given.
Thus, for all these non-Malay students, which number 30, only two students failed the 1972 School Trial M.C.E. examination in Bahasa Malaysia. In fact, there was one student who scored A2 in the School Mock MCE examination in Bahasa Malaysia.
There can be no good reason, therefore, why all these students apart from two, who passed the School Mock MCE Bahasa Malaysia subject should fail altogether.
This is the case with other schools, where students who have distinguished themselves in Bahasa Malaysia in school yet fail in the M.C.E. examination.
When I was in Penang yesterday, I was told that in Chung Ling High School, the student who last year won the Bahasa Malaysia essay contest for the whole school also failed in the MCE Bahasa Malaysia. This is unbelievable.
The injustices are too many and blatant to be explained away, and the Ministry of Education must do them justice by giving all MCE candidates conditional passes if they had merely failed in Bahasa Malaysia.
In the meantime, I call on all students, parents, old boys’ associations and school boards to send me details of the failures in their schools and areas, so that the public and country can fully understand the enormity and magnitude of the unjust MCE examination system. They can address their letters to me, Pejabat Ketua Pembangkang, Parliament, Kuala Lumpur; or to 77 Road 20/9, Paramount Garden, Petaling Jaya.