DAP wants a comprehensive review of the entire education policy and system in Malaysia

Speech by DAP Secretary- General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at the closing of the DAP Luar Bandar Selangor Seminar held in Klang on 29th April 1973 at 4 p.m.

The high rate of mass failures among Malay students in science and mathematics and among non-Malay students in Bahasa Malaysia in the 1972 LCE examination has highlighted the grave problems, defects and weaknesses of the Malaysian education system.

Fifteen years of alliance education policy has borne very bitter fruits for the parents and students.

Every Malaysian with children in school knows that the quality and content of education has deteriorated badly over the years, which the Ministry of Education officials are not prepared to admit.

Not only is the education standard deplorable at the MCE level, it is deplorable all down the line. For instance in the 1971 Std. V Assessment Examination, 221 national primary schools had 100% failures, 63 national- type (Chinese) primary schools and 174 national-type (Tamil) primary schools had also 100% failures. This is unbelievable and incredible.

Yet, the Minister of Education does his best to hide these failures; and takes no firm, positive remedial measures.

There is a vital need for a comprehensive review of the entire education policy and system in the country, to ensure that Malaysian children are being properly educated and relevant to the needs of Malaysian society to make them employable.

The Government is prepared to appoint a Parliamentary Committee to look into the highly inconsequential problem of whether to permit the screening of X-films, but on such a vital problem as education, adopt a flippant and irresponsible attitude.

The DAP want a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the whole education policy and system in Malaysia.

The reasons which the Minister of Education has given in Parliament in reply to DAP call for a public inquiry into the high failures in the 1972 MCE examination are flimsy and do not bear scrutiny.

It is highly regrettable that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Education could not resist the pressures which opposed an enlightened and liberal education policy and practice. It is a matter of even greater regret that the Minister of Education should choose deliberately, in his reply in Parliament, to twist and distort what I have said to play to the gallery.

Dato Hussien Onn said in Parliament that the government knew a number of causes which is responsible for the mass failures. If the Government knows the reasons why is hiding them from the public? Why not let the public, the parents and the students know these reasons? And why hasn’t the Government taken concrete steps long before this to resolve the problem and prevent the mass failures of tens of thousands of innocent youngsters?

Just as politics is too serious and vital a matter to be left only to politicians, similarly education is too important a matter to be left to the Ministry of Education officials.

Parents, public organizations and all Malaysians must take a deep interest in the educational issues, problems and injustices in the country if they are not going to have their children growing up as the educated unemployed and unemployable in the country.

It is a part of our task to help mould public opinion to bring pressure to bear on the authorities so that a radical change and reform in the present shabby, incompetent and wasteful education system can be effected.