Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Petaling Jaya 1982 New Year party held in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 1,1,1982 at 8 pm.
Call on Datuk Lee San Choon and Datuk Michael Chen, as members of the Cabinet Review Committee, to declare whether the 3-M system implemented for Chinese and Tamil primary schools are in accordance or contrary to the Cabinet Committee recommendations
The announcements on Wednesday by the Education Minister, Datuk Dr. Suleiman Daud, about the 3-M implementation for Chinese and Tamil primary schools have created shock-waves in the Chinese educational community, because it presaged a serious attempt to change the character of Chinese primary schools.
The implementation to of the 3-M system for Chinese primary schools without adequate basic textbooks in Chinese language, and also without a single educational and instructional material for the reaches in Chinese language, strikes at the very root of Chinese primary schools.
What is even more shocking is the revelation by the Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Chan Siang Sun, that the announcements made by the Education Minister was the result of over-zealousness of Ministry of Education officials who had tried to misinterpret and cause deviation in the implementation of the National Education Policy, and that they did not represent government policy.
I do not know whether Datuk Chan Siang Sun would be denying such a statement, but clearly, accepting Datuk Chan’s revelation at his face value, we must ask Datuk Chan whether he knows what he is talking about.
Is he suggesting that the Education Minister, Datuk Dr. Suleiman Daud, had been so naïve as to allow himself to be manipulated and cause deviations from the National Education Policy, in implementing the 3-M system the way the Education Minister was made the announce last Wednesday?
As the most longest-serving member in the Education Ministry, longer than Dr. Sulaiman Daud and the other Deputy Education Minister, Haji Suhaimi Kamarruddin, why did Datuk Chan Siang Sun allow the Education Ministry officials to so easily deviate from the National Education Policy, without making any attempts to stop the, or expose them and alert the Education Minister to their evil intentions?
In any event, as Datuk Chan Siang Sun, had himself repeatedly announced inside and outside Parliament that the 3-M system would be started in selected Chinese primary schools beginning this year, Datuk Chan Siang Sun would explain to the people as to how this 3-M system is meant to be introduced and implemented to the Chinese primary schools. In this way, the people would know how such deviation had taken place.
I am surprised however that the Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Chan SIang Sun, is reported as saying that he would be meeting the Education officials about the 3-M implementation for the Chinese primary schools. As the Deputy Education Minister, he should just summon the Education Policy, and put them on the carpet. The person he should see immediately is the Education Minister himself, to let him know that he had been ‘hoodwinked’ of ‘misled’ by the Education officials, and not to seek to see the errant government officials instead.
The integrity and intactness of the character of Chinese primary schools is too big a matter for Datuk Chan Siang Sun to play ‘games’.
The question that the people want answered immediately is, whether the MCA had agreed where there is only one basic textbook is Chinese language, as even the other textbook for mathematics is to be translated from Bahasa Malaysia; while there are no 3-M instructional or educational materials in Chinese language for guidance for the teachers.
Furthermore, it would appear that under the 3-M system, Bahasa Malaysia may be used as a medium in the Chinese primary schools; and for singing, there is a quota of 50 per cent Malays songs; while the teaching of morals and ethics would be based on Bahasa Malaysia texts rather than the inculcation of Malaysian Chinese morals and ethics.
If the whole matter is so straight forward and simple as pictured by Datuk Chan Siang Sun, that this is against national educational policy and the result of the over-zealousness of a few Ministry of Education officials, then the matter should be able to be righted immediately. The Education Minister or the Prime Minister should be informed, and the whole matter put right, and the fears and anxieties of the Malaysian Chinese that the 3-M system is an attempt to change the character of Chinese primary schools put to rest. This is because I do not believe that few Ministry officials could be so powerful as to disregard or flout government policy.
The problem will arise only where the 3-M implementation for Chinese primary schools as announced by the Education Minister is in full conformity with the Education policy of the government.
In this connection, I call on Datuk Lee San Choon and Datuk Michael Chen, as Members of the Cabinet Education Review Committee which proposed the introduction of the 3-M system, to declare publicly whether the present method of implementing the 3-M system for Chinese primary schools is in accordance with its Report or a violation and negation of its recommendations.
If Datuk Lee San Choon is abroad on leave, then he MCA should end a cable to him to cancel his leave immediately to return to resolve this matter, which is more important that his individual leave.
If there is no satisfactory explanation from Datuk Chan Siang Sun, Datuk Lee San Choon and Datuk Michael Chen, and even the Minister of Education, Datuk Dr. Sulaiman Daud, then the Chinese educational community may have to conclude that Datuk Chan is just putting up a show, and that the 3-M implementation of the Chinese primary schools require a concerted action of all political, educational and civic organizations committed to the preservation of the character of Chinese primary schools in Malaysia.