Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, at a meeting of Perak DAP MPs and State Assemblymen in Ipoh on Friday, 8th May 1981 at 7 p.m.
DAP calls on the Education Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, to release the report of the Curriculum Development Centre survey on the 3R abilities of primary school students for study and discussion by parents, teachers and the public.
Last month, the Education Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, said that a survey by his Ministry’s Curriculum Development Centre produced the ‘shocking findings’ that an alarming number of primary school students could not read, write and add. Datuk Musa Hitam said that survey resulted in the government’s decision to launch 3M programme for the primary schools in the country.
The Curriculum Development Centre survey, which took 10 months from June 1979, covered 287 pre-selected schools and 16,806 pupils in all three medium – national, Chinese and Tamil.
The CDC’s Report on the Proficiency Levels of Primary School Children in Basic Skills state:
* The proficiency levels in reading skills is only 55 per cent for Std. Six pupils in all three types of schools;
* Less than 50 per cent have sufficient writing skills;
* Only 48.3% per cent of those in Chinese schools have sufficient arithmetic skills while only 37 per cent in national schools and 30.6 per cent in Tamil schools can do arithmetic; and
* More than 50 per cent of all primary pupils do not have the required mastery of Bahasa Malaysia for their class levels.
These are very serious educational failures in the national education system. In fact, over the years in Parliament, DAP Members of Parliament have repeatedly called for urgent remedial educational measures to deal with the massive mis-education going on in Malaysia’s primary schools. The chief blame for such massive mis-education in the primary schools must be put on the automatic system of promotion, where school children are promoted upwards year after year regardless of whether they had lagged far behind the minimum attainments of their class.
Clearly, a proper action to remedy the great defect in the primary schools where after six years of education large number of school children still could not read, write or do arithmetic, calls for joint efforts, not only in execution but in formulation of the plan itself, by parent, teachers and the public.
After all, what is there to guarantee that the Ministry of Education, which must bear responsiblity for this deplorable state of primary education, would not devise some remedy which might be worse than the disease itself?
While remedial action is urgently needed, the remedial measure must be one which ensures that the school children who do not know the 3Rs after six years of education are raised to attain a minimum of 3Rs after their primary education, and not to bring down the attainments of primary school students who have no 3R problems at all!
As a first step to involve the public, the parents and teachers in tackling this serious problem, I call on the education Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, to release the report of the Curriculum Development Centre Survey on the Proficiency Levels of Primary School Children in Basic Skills and the full details of the 3M programme of the Education Ministry to the public, for study and discussion.
DAP MPs and State Assemblymen should play an even more active role in the party’s preparations for the next general elections in 15 months’ time
DAP MPs and State Assemblymen, as the public standard-bearers of the party, must play an even more active political role in the party’s preparations for the next general elections, which may be held in 15 months’ time.
Although in the party’s 15-year history, several DAP MPs and State Assemblymen had defected and betrayed the Party’s trust and the people’s hopes, because they could not withstand the temptations of money and position held out to them by the Barisan, such defections and betrayals had not been able to block the DAP’s forward progress.
I was in Bukit Mertajam last week, where I was told that the MP for Bukit Mertajam, Seow Hung Khim, who betrayed the DAP and is now in the MCA, is being cursed by the people when he appears in public, and has become the example to the people as to what a person of integrity, principle and self-respect should not do and be.
It is of course very case for a DAP MP or State Assemblyman to become rich of he is prepared to sell his soul, betray the party’s trust and the people’s hopes – and as the Chinese saying goes, ‘to stink for ten thousand years’!
I know that the Barisan brokers, acting on behalf of their political masters who regard politics as ho different from buying and selling of cattle, are trying to test the loyalty, integrity and honesty of DAP MPs and State Assemblymen with temptations of big money and position.
I believe that although there had been MPs and State Assemblymen who had demonstrated that they are no better than cattle, who could be sold to the highest bidder at the market-place, the people can only have contempt for such opportunists who do not know what is integrity, honour and self-respect.
DAP MPs and State Assemblymen must demonstrate to the MCA and Barisan moneyed interests that while everyone of them has a price, we in the DAP are different – in that the loyal and dedicated DAP leaders have no price and are not for sale ; or as the Chinese saying goes, ‘heads can be chopped, but a person cannot be dishonoured.’