Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Ketua Pembangkang, Lim Kit Siang, at the 10th Anniversary Dinner organized by the Kuala Lumpur DAP Branch in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, 8th August 1976 at 8 p.m.
DAP calls on the Ministry of Education to draw up a master plan under the Third Malaysia Plan to improve the facilities, build new classes and schools and to raise the standard of education in Chinese and Ta mil primary schools through increased allocations
In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in the enrolment of pupils especially for Chinese primary schools. This marked increase of enrolment in Chinese primary schools, however, has not been accompanied by a corresponding increase in financial allocations for Chinese primary schools to ensure that they have adequate facilities, school places and sufficient number of trained teachers to maintain a high standard of education.
This is best illustrated by the plight faced by the parents in Petaling Jaya, who had to send their children all the way to Kuala Lumpur to join a Chinese primary school. The Ministry of Education has continued to ignore pleas by parents for the building of a Chinese primary school in Petaling Jaya not only for the convenience of the pupils, but also to reduce the financial strain on parents, who otherwise had to bear more expenses in terms of transport and others.
What is surprising here is that although the Assistant Education Minister is none other than the MCA Youth Leader, Chan Siang Sung, he does not seem to understand or sympathise or share the very legitimate views held by parents in Petaling Jaya. The MCA and the MCA Youth seem to have a blind-eye, which enables them not to see things which everybody can see.
Chinese and Tamil primary schools are part and parcel of the national education system, and they are entitled to full governmental attention and efforts to ensure that they not only maintain a high standard of education, but meet the needs of the Malaysian parents who choose to send their children to these schools.
1975 Std. V Assessment Examination Results
I have just received a written reply from the Minister of Education, Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamed, to a question which I asked in Parliament last month, in connection with the results of last year’s Std. V. Assessment Examination.
From Dr. Mahathir’s reply, it is clear that the Ministry of Education has failed in its responsibility to maintain a high standard of education in the primary schools, especially Chinese and Tamil primary schools.
Some 75800 pupils from Chinese primary schools in Peninsular Malaysia sat for the Std. V. Assessment Examination last year. Out of this total, 61664 pupils or 81.3% failed in Bahasa Malaysia paper; 43383 pupils or 57.2% failed in Bahasa Inggeris paper; 27803 pupils or 36.7% in Bahasa Cina paper; 24786 pupils or 32.7% failed in Ilmu Hasib; 25816 pupils or 34.1% failed in Science and 27709 pupils or 36.6% failed in History / Geography.
Selangor, Perak and Johore have the highest overall percentages of failures, as indicated by the percentages of failures in Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Inggeris for these three states:
Percentage of Failures in 1975 Std. V Assessment Examination
Bahasa Malaysia Bahasa Inggeris
Total No. of Failure % Total Failure %
Selangor 15624 13595 87% 15621 9909 63.4%
Perak 16638 14450 87% 16623 10586 63.7%
Johore 14420 12350 86% 14426 8593 60%
As a Member of Parliament from Malacca, I am glad to note that Malacca has the best overall results in percentage of passes.
In the case of Tamil primary schools, out of a total of 11900 candidates, 82.3% failed in Bahasa Malaysia, 59.8% failed in English; 37.2% failed in Tamil; 56.8% failed in Mathematics; 57% failed in Science and 56.8% failed in History / Geography.
In comparison, for Malay primary schools, out of a total 111690 candidates, 23.2% failed in Bahasa Malaysia; 59.2% failed in English; 48.4% failed in Mathematics; 37.3% failed in Science; 33.8% failed in History-Geography.
It is thus plain that the government must work out a special scheme to raise the standard of education in primary schools, especially for Chinese and Tamil primary schools.
In this regard, the DAP calls on the Ministry of Education to drawn up a master plan under the Third Malaysia Plan to improve the facilities, build new classes and schools and to raise the standard of education in Chinese and Tamil primary schools through increased allocations.
I call for a master plan specifically for Chinese and Tamil primary schools, because in one important respect, the problems of Chinese and Tamil primary schools are different from national primary schools. This is because of the teaching of the mother tongue in the Chinese and Tamil primary schools.
The raising of the standard of education in Chinese and primary schools, especially in Bahasa Malaysia and English, must be done, not only without lowering the standard of mother-tongue teaching, but with the corresponding increase of standard of attainment of Chinese and Tamil for the students respectively.
This result can only be achieved through the adoption of new educational and teaching formula for Chinese and Tamil primary schools, which involve an increase of weekly schooling hours.
As Chinese schools have the traditional c=six-day week, one of the measures that can be adopted is to make full use of the sixth day in the week for the purpose not only of raising the standard of education in the mother-tongue, but also in both Bahasa Malaysia and English.
I am sure that with the will to find answers to this problem, other measures can be arrived at.
Important Role of Parents and Teachers
For this new approach to succeed, the joint efforts of the Ministry of Education, parents and teachers are needed, particularly the co-operation between teachers and parents.
Teachers and parents must first of all be convinced of the need for a new special effort to raise the standard of education of Chinese and Tamil primary schools, for if this new awareness and consciousness is present among teachers and parents, even if the Ministry of Education is not prepared to do anything, a lot of things can still be done.
It is in this regard that the Parents-Teachers’ Associations of Chinese and Tamil primary schools have a particularly creative role to play, not so much to raise money to enable some minor physical charges in the schools to be undertaken, but to substantially improve the standard of education of the students!
DAP wants MCA, Gerakan and MIC to declare their stand on the improvement and raising of educational standards of Chinese and Tamil primary schools
The MCA has as one of its national leaders as the Assistant Education Minister. The Gerakan and MIC are both members of the ruling Barisan Nasional party. The DAP and the people want to know what is their stand on this important question of a special national effort, through increased allocations, better facilities, more trained teachers, and a new educational formula, to raise the standard of education of Chinese and Tamil primary schools.
Finally, I would ask the Assistant Education Minister and MCA Youth Leader, how much the government has spent on Chinese primary schools under the Second Malaysia Plan, as compared with other primary schools; and how much is earmarked to be spent for Chinese primary schools under the Third Malaysia Plan. Or has the Assistant Minister of Education himself no figures?