Lim Kit Siang to raise with Datuk Musa the establishment of a Contingency Loan Fund to help Malaysian students in Australia.
Parliamentary Opposition Leaders, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, has called on the Education Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, to immediately set up a
Revolving Loan Fund for Malaysian students in Australia to help them tide over financial difficulties, including those created by the imposition of university fees.
Mr. Lim said he would meet Datuk Musa on his return to Malaysia to discuss this and other matters affecting Malaysian students in Australia.
Mr. Lim said the he had been informed by Malaysian students in Australia that when Datuk Musa Hitam visited Australia several months back, he had promised that such a revolving Loan Fund – as the one set up to help Malaysian students in United Kingdom – would also be set up for Australia. However, nothing appeared to have been done.
Mr. Lim said this then speaking to Malaysian students in Melbourne organised by the Melbourne University Malaysian Students Union. As in the case of Mr. Lim’s talk to Malaysian students in Monash University the previous evening, a record-breaking capacity crowd of Malaysian students turned out to hear Mr. Lim.
Mr. Lim said he would find out from Datuk Musa whether the Education Ministry has taken any step as promised to acquire Malaysia Hall in Melbourne/Monash to provide accommodation for Malaysian students considering that Victoria had now the largest number of Malaysian student in any state in Australia.
In his speech, Mr. Lim spoke of nation building as the single biggest task of Malaysia considering the diversity of the peoples, languages, religions and cultures in the country.
Mr. Lim said it was most unfortunate that although Malaysia recently celebrated her 23rd National Day, both racial and class polarisation have become as serious as ever.
Education, for instance, has become the most divisive issue in Malaysia since the Sixties, and its divisive effect has become more destructive year by year.
Mr. Lim said it was imperative that government policy makers recognize the divisive effect of the present policy with regard to the provision of higher educational opportunity for Malaysian students.
He said every Malaysian must acknowledge and accept that the Malays, Ibans, Kadazans and others are educationally more backward than the Chinese and Indians in the higher reaches of education, and that this under-representation must be redressed.
However, it must equally be accepted by all Malaysians that every Malaysian, including every Malaysian Chinese and Indians, must have the opportunity to fulfil his potential and capabilities by receiving the highest educational opportunity he could benefit from.
The redressal of the under-representation of the Malay, Ibans, Kadazans in the professions and the higher reaches of education must and cannot mean the denial and deprivation of higher education opportunity for non-Malay children in their own country.
Mr. Lim criticised those who talk everything in term i=of percentage and at those who want everyone to believe what great things they have achieved in getting a 2% increase.
Mr. Lim suggested in the field of higher education, Malaysians should stop talking about percentages but be guided by two principles and three measures:
The two principles are:
(I) Redressal of historical higher educational under-representation of Malay, Ibans, Kadazans, by the provision of all possible government help and assistance, financial or academic, to accelerate their participation in the professions and all aspects of tertiary education:
(II) The principle that there shall be no deprivation or denial of non-Malay students in higher education in their own homeland.
Both the two above principle could be achieved by the adoption of the following measures:
(I) Expansion of places in existing universities;
(II) Build more universities by the government;
(III) Allow the establishment of private universities.