Need for liberal and statesmanlike approach to problem of education

Speech by DAP Secretary- General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit sang, to the DAP Negeri Sembilan State Sub- Committee in Seremban on Sunday, 1st April 1973 at 5 p.m.

1. Need for liberal and statesmanlike approach to problem of education in a multi- racial society like Malaysia.

Yesterday, we read in the press that the Australian Labour Government had decided to abolish fees for all Australian universities and colleges from Jan 1. 1974 and that Australian Federal Government would take over full responsibility for financing tertiary education in Australian.

In Malaysia, however, the Federal Government seems to be taking full responsibility for denying maximum education opportunities to Malaysian citizens who have ability and intelligences as illustrated by the recent shockingly high rate of mass failures in the M.C.E because of failure in Bahasa Malaysia paper.

The future of education of the present generation of Malaysian students is the burning issue of the day and the subject of discussion of all homes, coffee shops and meetings.

The Finance Minister, Tun Tan Siew Sin, said in Washington recently that to solve the present international monetary problems, instead of groping and floundering until the next crisis arises, “what is needed now and badly need too is the political will and the political courage to do what is right.”

Before Tun Tan and the alliance government lectures to other countries, the Alliance leaders must be capable of the ‘political courage to do what is right for the education welfare and entire future of all Malaysian children, regardless of race, colour or tongue.

The Federal Cabinet, which meets on Tuesday, has a grave responsibility to discharge to the nation, and unless it act with ‘political will and courage of what is right’ and show the big-heartedness and liberal attitude necessary in a multi-racial society, then it will forfeit and lose the support and confidence of decisive sections of he population.

It is thus ridiculous beyond description that a candidate who gets eight distinctions in the M.C.E. and merely fail the Bahasa Malaysia should not get a chance to repeat, while a candidate who gets total failure in all nine subjects should get priority and preference. I hope that sanity and good sense will prevail in the high cousels of state, and a radical plan to end all the injustices and abuses of the present MCE education and examination system will be given national priority and attention.

2. Malaysia and China: Recognition

I cannot understand the continued delay in the establishment of diplomatic relationship between Malaysian and the People’s Republic of China. The Malaysian government should not hesitate and delay any longer, and should proceed forth with to normalize relations with foremost country in Asia.

In this connection, we should caution Alliance Government to approach this question of establishment of diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China an entirely national question, and not to treat it as an election issue for the Alliance; as for instance, delaying establishment of diplomatic relations until close to the date fixed for the next general elections. This will be in terribly poor taste, and will do no good to the national image of the country.