Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang, at a dinner organised by the DAP Jasin Branch to commemorate the Party’s 15th Anniversary at Jasin, Malacca on 19th November 1981 at 8 p.m.
Challenge to Haji Suhaimi to demand the sacking of Barisan Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Leaders who by sending their children abroad for education have no confidence in the National Education Policy.
Yesterday, in Parliament, the UMNO Youth Leader and Deputy Education Minister, Haji Suhaimi Kamaruddin, tried to criticize opposition leaders for sending their children abroad for education.
He did not realise that he was in fact criticizing Barisan Ministers, Deputy Ministers and leaders, many of whom send their children abroad for primary and secondary education.
As UMNO Youth leader, haji Suhaimi, has been making various unreasonable statements and speeches and has shown to be rather inconsistent in political questions. This is one of them. I challenge Haji Suhaimi as UMNO Youth leader to demand for the sacking of Barisan Ministers, Deputy Ministers, and leaders who have no confidence in the national education policy in sending their children overseas for primary and secondary education.
Haji Suhaimi should compile a full list of Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, Mentri-Mentri Besar, Chief Ministers, State Exco Members, Members of Parliament, State Assemblyman and Barisan leaders at national and state levels who send their children overseas for education and expose them publicly.
Hi Suhaimi should not treat Parliament as if it is an UMNO Youth General Assembly where he can say what he likes and get away with them.
When the DAP MP from Sandakan, Sdr. Fung Ket Wing, asked a supplementary question in English yesterday in Parliament, Hj Suhaimi tried to be funny by asking for a ruling from the Deputy Speaker, asking for a translation as he claimed he does not understand.
When I later asked the Deputy Speaker to look into the question as to whether Hj Suhaimi had committed a breach of privilege, in telling a lie by saying he did not understand English when he did, and bringing Parliament into ridicule, Hj Suhaimi swiftly stood up and clarified that what he meant earlier was that he did not understand Ket Wing’s question. If that was the case, why didn’t Hj Suhaimi ask Ket Wing to repeat his question, as is the practice, instead of asking for a translation.
The people can still remember Hj Suhaimi’s speech at the UMNO U\Youth General Assembly when he called on the government to implement Clause 21(2) of the Education Act.
Clause 21(2) of the Education Act confers power on the Minister of Education, when he deems fit, to convert Chinese and Tamil primary schools into national primary schools. In the Utusan melayu sedition case, the courts have ruled that any demand for the closure of Chinese and Tamil primary schools is a violation of the Sedition Act and therefore a crime under the sedition law.
When the DAP through our Deputy Secretary General, Sdr. Lee Lam They, lodged a police report against Hj Suhaimi for a sedition offence for his speech at the UMNO Youth General Assembly and for his prosecution under the Sedition Act, Hj Suhaimi again clarified that he merely asked for the implementation Clause 21(2) of the Education Act and that he never called for the closure of Chinese and Tamil primary schools.
Can Hj Suhaimi explain how Clause 21(2) of the Education Act, 1961, could be implemented without the closured of Chinese and Tamil primary schools, and thus conversation into national primary schools?
I would advice Hj Suhaimi, now that he is Deputy Education Minister, to be more matured and responsible in his speeches and actions, and to stop seeking cheap publicity and applause. He may be able to get away with histrionics and antics with the MCA and MCA Youth but he will not be able to get away in Parliament so long as the DAP is there to stand up for the legitimate rights and interests of the people.