Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at a fund-raising tea party at Ipoh which organised by Perak DAP Chinese Education sub-committee in aid of Chinese Independent Secondary Schools on Sunday, 26th May 1974 at 10 a.m.
1. If the DAP captures the Perak, Penang or any other State government, Nantah and Formosan graduates will be employed on the State, City Council, Municipal, Town Council levels at par with graduates from Malaysian universities
For over a decade, the problem of the recognition of the degrees and diplomas of over 10,000 Malaysians who graduated from Nantah and Formosan universities and colleges have remained an outstanding problem.
It has always been a grave injustice that although Malaysia is short of skilled manpower, and although the Nantah and Formosan degrees and qualifications are comparable to those of the Malaysian universities, the Alliance, and now the National Front, government, have refused to accord recognition to the Nantah and Formosan degrees and qualifications.
This has therefore become a source of frustration and a symbol of injustice in Malaysia.
We in the DAP have right from the beginning taken an unequivocal stand on this issue, and our stand remains unchanged: that the government should unreservedly accord recognition to Nantah and Formosan degrees and qualifications of international repute, so that the over 10,000 Malaysians who hold these degrees and qualifications can fully participate in the national development of the country.
I want to take this occasion to spell out our stand on this issue even more clearly.
With the approach of the general elections, which will most likely be held at the end of July, many people are optimistic that the DAP would be able to capture power in the State of Penang or Perak, or both.
If the DAP captures the Perak, Penang or any other State government, Nantah and Formosan graduates would be employed at the State, City Council, Municipal, Town and Local Council levels on par with graduates from other universities, so that Malaysians holding these degrees and qualifications will be able to make their full contribution to both the public and private life in Malaysia.
Any DAP State Government would also make use of its influence to the fullest to prevail upon the private sector to employ and to pay Nantah and Formosan graduates salaries commensurate with these from the other universities, whether in banks, commerce, industry or any other economic sector.
2. Chinese community should be concerned about the future of Chinese Independent Secondary Schools in terms of university opportunities
With the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China, making the traditional university opportunities of Chinese independent Secondary schools in the Taiwan universities and colleges uncertain, and with the new policy of Nantah to stop holding entrance examination in Malaysia, the Chinese educationists and community should be concerned about the university educational future and outlets of Chinese Independent Secondary school products.
It is the DAP view that the Chinese community must seek university outlets and places for Chinese secondary school graduates in the universities in the People’s Republic of China, and I call on all the Chinese educational institutions and organisations to put their heads together to work out a common approach to this grave problem.
3. Call for more Malaysians to speak out for legitimate interests and rights of the people, e.g. future of Chinese education n Malaysia
This is time for more Malaysians to speak out boldly and bravely for their legitimate rights and interests. If the people are afraid to express their wishes, and declare that these are the wishes of Malaysians, then such wishes stand the danger one day of being effectively branded as anti-national ones after some time.
I still remember that when I first stood up in the Dewan Rakyat in 1971 to speak up on the proper role and place of Chinese education in Malaysia, there was shocked silence as if somebody has streaked across the Chamber. This was because for many years, the majority of the MPs in the Dewan Rakyat were led to believe that a national consensus had been reached that questions like Chinese education, the educational and employment future of their products, are not national issues, but sectional and even chauvinist ones, and should not be bought to Parliament.
The danger of such an attitude and situation is that if they are allowed to go unchallenged, a tine would come when any expression of the hopes and problems of Chinese education would be treated as anti-Malaysians.
Now, however, when my colleagues and I in the DAP talk about the problem of Chinese education and their students in Parliament, there is no more any sense of shock, but acceptance that Parliament is the proper arena for the articulation and debate of such issues.
When we need at this time, is for more Malaysians to stand up bravely and speak up boldly, and act courageously, for we then stand a good chance of breading the barrier of intolerance.
It is in this context that I commend the Perak DAP Chinese Education sub-committee for their effort in making their small contribution to the cause of Chinese Independent Secondary Schools. In response to the great calls for public support by the national secondary Chinese school fund raising movement and the Perak secondary school Chinese fund raising movement.