Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Parliamentary Candidates for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at a Giant DAP Public Rally at Stadium Negara Car Park, Kuala Lumpur, on Monday, 12th August 1974 at 10 p.m
DAP calls for the establishment of a separate Ministry specially in charge of Chinese education
Malaysia is a multi-racial country made up of three major races, and our Malaysian Constitution is very clear in Clause 152 (1) that although Malay shall be the national language. “no person shall be prohibited or prevented from using (otherwise than for official purposes) or from teaching or learning, any other language;” and it is also further provided that nothing in this clause shall prejudice the right of the Federal government or of any State Government to preserve and sustain the use and study of the language of any other community in the Federation.”
This clause in the Malaysian Constitution enables the Federal and State Governments to assist Chinese schools, whether primary, secondary or even at the university level.
The Alliance and now the National Front parties have failed to observe the spirit and letter of this Constitutional provision, Where is the Merdeka University project, which the MCA at the last minute during the 1969 general elections expressed support? Why did the government withdraw government subsidy and grant to Chinese Secondary Schools as provided by the Razak education Report of 1956? Why did the government abolish the Boards of Management of Chinese primary schools, stripping them of the power to hire and fire school staff, leading to persons unversed in Chinese being sent to become principals and clerical officers of Chinese primary schools? Why did the Minister of Education continue to retain the power as vested in him by the 1961 Education Act which enables him to within 24 hours to convert Chinese primary schools into national primary schools with a stroke of the pen?
I also challenge the MCA, the Gerakan, the PPP and all the National Front parties to declare what the various State Governments have done “to preserve and sustain the use and study of the language of any other community in the Federation” as provided by Clause 152(1) of the Malaysian Constitution?
The MCA, which is a member of 10 State Governments, the Gerakan, which formed the Penang State Government, and the PPP which was a party to the Perak State Government, have all failed to discharge their duties to help Chinese education as is permitted to them in the Constitution.
I want to declare here that if the DAP captures the Penang or Perak State Government, any DAP State Government will make use of Clause 152 (1)(b) of the Malaysian Constitution and provide financial and other assistance to the promotion of Chinese primary schools. We will also provide financial assistance to Chinese Independent Secondary Schools and actively aid in the establishment of the proposed College of Higher Education for graduates of Chinese Independent Secondary Schools.
If I want here to call for the establishment of a separate Ministry at the Federal government level specially in charge of Chinese education, in term of promoting Chinese primary schools, secondary schools and at the university level, and to find outlets for Chinese school graduates, as the training of all Chinese school temporary teachers and absorption into the permanent government service, recognition of Nantah and Formosan university degrees and qualifications, etc. Only in this way can Chinese education find a proper place in a multi-racial Malaysia. I challenge the MCA, Gerakan, the PPP and Pekemas to declare whether they are prepared to the DAP for the appointment of a Cabinet Minister on Chinese Education.