Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and Member of Parliament for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, when officially declaring open the Perak DAP State Convention held at Catholic Centre, Ipoh, on Sunday, 5th August 1979 at 10 a.m.
DAP calls on Ministry of Education to greatly increase Form Six places next year and after to ensure that all non-Malay first graders in MCE/SPM examination can continue their studies.
In June this year, there was widespread discontent and frustration among parents and students when the Education Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, announced that there was only a meager increase of 2% for non-Malay university student intake this year, despite the solemn pledges in Parliament last December to significantly redress this problem.
What is not realised, however, is that this grave diminutions of higher education opportunities is not merely at the university entrance level, but also at the Form Six entrance level. With every passing year, more and more qualified non-Malay students find that they have been denied places to Form six classes.
The following figures highlight the seriousness of this problem, which needs urgent attention.
Last year’s 1978 MCE/SPM results for fully-assisted government schools are as follows:
Examination Total No. Grade I Grade II Grade III Failure
MCE 65,526 11,053 12,599 19,108 19,766
(17.7%) (20.1%) (30.6%) (31.6%)
SPM 53,466 1,198 4,350 19,746 28,172
(2.3%) (8.1%) (36.9%) (52.7%)
The breakdown of students who were emplaced in Form Six classes’ in1979 is as follows:
Malay Chinese Indian Others Total
English stream 4126 3800 348 15 8289
(49.8%) (45.8%) (4.2%) (0.2%)
National stream 2155 185 83 15 2438
(88.4%) (7.6%) (3.4%) (6.6%)
Total 6281 3985 431 30 10,727 (58.6%) (37.1%) (4.0%) (0.3%)
Malay Chinese Indian Others Total
English stream 3525 2489 268 49 6331
(55.7%) (39.3%) (4.2%) (0.8%)
National stream 2273 17 12 2 2304
(98.7%) (0.7%) (0.5%) (0.1%)
Total 5798 2506 280 51 8635 (67.2%) (29%) (3.2%) (0.6%)
This means that the racial breakdown of the total number of students given places for Form Six studies, including both science and arts streams, for last year is as follows:
Malay Chinese Indian Others Total
Form Six 12,079 64911 711 81 19,362
(Science and (62.4%) (33.5%) (3.7%) (0.4%)
There are most disturbing figures, for it means that while the Government is giving Form Six places for a large number of non-first grade Malay students in the deserving programme to increase Malay students in higher education levels, a very large percentage of non- Malay first graders are rejected and denied Form Six places. I would estimate that as high as 40% of the non-Malay first graders are not able to get places in Form Six, when good second graders should actually be entitled to even form six Places.
The gravity of this problem for non-Malay students can be appreciated when we realise that apart from Form Six places in government schools, good Malay performers in MCE/SPM examination would have many other avenues for higher education opportunities, like pre-university courses at the different universities which take MSE/SPM students direct for preparation for university courses, or MARA or many other government colleges and institutions, which are not open to non-Malay students.
The drastic diminution of opportunities for non-Malay students in Form Six classes explains one mystery for many Malaysians. On June 11, in reply to my question, the Education Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, said that for the 1979/1980 Academic Year, a total of 15,098 students applied for university places, made up of 8,339 bumiputera and 6,759 non-bumiputera students.
Many have wondered why the number of non-bumiputera students who applied for university places is so small.
The reason is now clear: The government Form Six student intake policy had earlier on drastically slashed down the number of eligible students for application for local university students. For instance, in the 1981/1982 University Academic Year, the number of applications for university places in Malaysia would not exceed the total number of students given Form Six places this year, which is 12,079 Malays, 6491 Chinese, 711 Indians, 81 others making a total of 19,362, for Peninsular Malaysia.
This restrictive Form Six student intake policy is most unfair and inimical to the national interests of the country.
The DAP calls for a new Government Policy on Form Six education, whereby all academically-qualified students, regardless of race, should be offered Form Six places in government schools. For the immediate future, the Government should from next year greatly expand Form Six places whereby all non-Malay First Graders in MCE/SPM examination would find a place in Form Six education and widening the Form Six educational base to allow good Second Graders Form Six educational opportunities as well.
The DAP therefore wants the Minister of Education, Datuk Musa Hitam, not only to increase significantly non-Malay students in the local universities, but also non-Malay students in Form Six classes.
The MCA, with its MCA Youth Leader and MCA National Vice President as Deputy Education Minister, is aware of this great educational injustice which denied form six places to a great proportion of Grade I and good Grade II non-Malay students, and as usual, the MCA hoped that nobody would discover it. I understand that in Perak there is an outfit in the MCA which claims the name of being ‘Vanguard ‘. There are two types of Vanguards. One type of Vanguard is to lead the people forward. The other type of Vanguard is the lead the people backwards. The Perak MCA Vanguard belongs to the second category!
In the interest of national unity, I urge the Government to give serious attention to the legitimate grievances of the non-Malay parents and students about the drastic diminution of opportunities for pre-university and university education in Malaysia.
This problem has in recent weeks become more acute with reports of repeated increase of tuition fees in Commonwealth countries like New Zealand, and lately Britain, which will increase tuition fees by 33% in September, with the likely further 150% increase next year or 1981 under the Conservative Government’s deplorable proposal to charge foreign students the full cost of their studies.
For 1978, the Government gave scholarship and bursaries to 1,625 bumiputera students for secondary and post-secondary studies in countries abroad, and 6,770 bumiputera students for university education abroad. Out of these 6,770 bumiputera students on government scholarship in foreign universities, 297 bumiputera students are doing medicine and 912 doing engineering degrees.
DAP calls for the immediate establishment of the Third Medical Faculty in Perak.
This brings me to the problem of non-Malay students to pursue medical and engineering locally and abroad. In fact, we can write off any opportunities for non-Malay Malaysians to de medical studies abroad,
For Commonwealth universities have virtually stopped accepting Malaysian for their medical faculties, firstly because there is a general clamp-down on taking foreign students for their medical courses, and secondly, whatever limited places these Commonwealth medical faculties still give to foreign students are reserved only for those countries which do not have medical schools of their own.
Non-Malay students now also find it very difficult to get into the medical schools in the country. For instance, for the 1979/1980 Academic Year, University of Malaya Medical Faculty took in 128 Students,77 of whom are bumiputera students; while University Kebangsaan Medical Faculty took in 192 students, 177 of whom are bumiputera students and 15 non-bumiputera students. The total number of new medical students for 1979/80 is 320, with non-bumiputera students totaling only 66, or a meager 20.6%
There is therefore an urgent need for the expansion of medical school places, and the building of new medical faculties. The Government recently announced its intention to build a third, medical faculty in Kelantan, but in view of the absence of teaching hospital and other back-up facilities, this appeared to be more politically motivated than educationally-inspired.
To build a medical faculty in Kelantan without existing teaching hospital facilities will take a considerable time, when the urgent need for more medical school places cannot wait.
The Government should build the third medical faculty in states where there are existing hospital facilities, like Perak, so that there is no delay in meeting the need for medical education to meet doctor shortage in the country and also to meet non-Malay demands. The Government could build the Fourth Medical Faculty in Kelantan, as planned.
DAP wants a review of implementation of NEP to ensure that the fruits of development are enjoyed by the ordinary massed – and calls on Perak State Government to abandon its plan to create 2,000 bumiputera millionaires.
The New Economic Policy is now near the mid-point of its 20- Year Perspective Plan. From the implementation of the NEW Economic Policy in the last decade, it is clear that its effect is to create a small group of new rich at the expense of the sufferings and poverty of the masses, both in the urban and rural areas.
UMNO leaders claim that the NEP is aimed to help the bumiputeras, when in actual fact; it is aimed to help a small group of well-connected UMNO leaders to become the new rich. This has in fact become federal and state policy, as evidenced by the announcement by the Perak Menteri Besar recently that the Perak State Government plans to create 2,000 bumiputera millionaires under the NEP. Perak and Malaysia must be the only country in the world which has as its economic policy the making of millionaires.
What relevance the creation of 2,000 bumiputera millionaires has to the elimination of poverty of millions of bumiputera and non-bumiputera poor, the Menteri Besar of Perak did not explain.
The Bank Rakyat scandal, which has caused the taxpayers to $150 million to rescue the Bank from bankruptcy, is the best example of the betrayal of the sweet-sounding objectives of the NEP for the enrichment of a select few.
The Dap calls on the Perak State Government to abandon its obsession with creating 2,000 bumiputera millionaires, and to concentrate all its efforts to help the poor millions: Otherwise, the UMNO leaders at all levels will be more interested in becoming included in this magic circle of 2,000 bumiputera millionaires than in service to the masses, which is the surest way to further betrayal of the rakyat.
NBI as an Independent Agency answerable only to Parliament
Been although now and then a few minor politicians of the past had charged and convicted of corruption, the basic problem of corruption in high political places remained the cancer of Malaysian society.
Despite Datuk Hussein Onn’s personal reputation of commitment to a clean, honest and incorruptible government, Malaysia still suffers from rampant corruption. The NBT is still without powers to act against political sharks, as distinct from the small fries, the ikan billis.
The NBI, if it is to play it role as an agency committed to the elimination of corruption regardless of party position or office, must be independent of any Ministerial control or Executive influence. This is why the DAP wants the NBI to be created as an autonomous agency answerable only to Parliament.
The NBI is also so short-handed, that the NBI staffs are so overstretched and could not speedily process and investigate corruption cases.
The DAP calls on the Prime Minister to vest the NBI with full authority to act against the corrupt, whether ‘ dragon or mouse deer ‘ without having to get Ministerial or Executive authority in cases involving top political leaders, whether at State of Federal level.
Government should respect human rights and the fundamental liberties enshrined in Constitution and release Sdr. Chian Hong Kai MP and Chan Kok Kit MP to serve the people.
Malaysia’s Constitution guarantees respect for human rights and fundamental liberties. Democracy and respect for human rights should differentiate Malaysia from other authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, where even the human right to live is trampled upon. But unfortunately, in Malaysia, the Government of the Day had not sufficiently honored human rights and the Constitutional guarantees of fundamental liberties of the person, freedom of speech, assembly and association.
Human right is not a luxury, but a necessity especially in a multi-racial society like Malaysia, if she is to endure and prosper against external threats and challenges. I call on the Government to respect and honor human rights and the Constitutional guarantees of fundamental liberties by immediately releasing from detention Sdr. Chian Heng Kai and Sdr. Chan Kok Kit so that they could discharge their parliamentary responsibilities and serve the constituents in Batu Gajah and Sungei Besi respectively.
DAP to emphasise discipline and deeper political and ideological commitment of members
The Dap in Perak has an important role in representing the people of the state to struggle for a democratic socialist and a genuine multiracial Malaysia. If the Dap is to grow from strength to strength, then there must be a greater emphasis of party discipline and deepening the political and ideological commitment of party members and leaders.
We must nurture in the minds of all Party leaders and members the concept of Party interests above all personal or group interests.
Sometimes, party leaders and members tend to forget that we must subordinate all interests to Party interests and for them to elevate themselves above the Party.
This is what happened in the last general elections, where a few Assemblymen forgot that they were elected because of the Dap, and regarded their constituencies as personal properties, and not Party constituencies.
I want to make it clear here that every constituency where the Dap has won whether at Parliamentary or State Assembly level is a party constituency, and no MP or State Assemblyman would have any hereditary rights to claim to continue to stand in that constituency in disregard of party interests.
Time and again, we have demonstrated that those who set themselves as more important than the Party, that they won because of themselves and not because of the Party, had been exposed as shallow and empty posturing.
The Party will stand by all MPs, Assemblymen, who had fulfilled the standards the Party expected of them; but the Party will not hesitate to take painful decisions if Party interests warrant it.
In the coming months and years when the Party is expected to face stormy times, the Party leadership will give special attention on tightening party discipline and in deepening the political and ideological commitment of party members and leaders.