Press Conference Preliminary Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, at DAP KL in Jalan Sultan, KL, on Thursday, 7.1.1982 at 1 p.m. after the DAP delegation meeting with Education Minister, Dauk Dr. Sulaiman Daud, on the 3M question.
Suhaimi Kamarrudin should ‘shut up’ about assurances that Chinese primary school should not change I character for he is not fir to make that assurance as he is ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ unless he repudiates his 1980 UMNO Youth speech calling for the implementation of Clause 21 (2) of 1962 Education Act
The UMNO Youth Leader, Deputy Education Minister, Haji Suhaimi Kamarrudin, yesterday received a high-level MCA delegation and declared that if there are requests for translation of the 3M teaching and educational guidebook into Chinese, the request would be considered. He also said that there should be no fear that Chinese primary schools would change in character with the implementation of the 3M system.
Haji Suhaimi wants the people to believe that he was making a great concession, that he would allow requests to be made for the translation of the 3M teaching and educational guidebook into Chinese.
Haji Suhaimi should realise that this itself shows that the character of Chinese primary schools is being converted under the 3M system, where teaching and guidebooks had to be translated from Bahasa Malaysia into Chinese, instead of being written in Chinese language itself by competent officials in the Curriculum Development Centre.
What is surprising is that the high-level MCE delegation which called on Haji Suhaimi appear to be highly elated by Haji Suhaimi’s ‘generosity’, for the MCA officials remarked that by using the 3M teaching and guidebooks in Bahasa Malaysia, the Chinese school teachers could improve their Bahasa Malaysia.
This is most shocking, for the improvement of Bahasa Malaysia by Chinese school teachers should not be done at the experise of converting the character of Chinese primary schools.
In any event, Haji Suhaimi, who declared the other day that the 3M system would continue unimpeded in all schools, is the last person to give assurances that the character of Chinese primary schools would not be affected. He should shut up about any matter affecting the Chinese primary schools, for he is a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ about the future of Chinese primary schools. Everybody still remembers has extremist and chauvinist demand in the UMNO Youth Assembly meeting in 1980 calling for the conversion of Chinese primary schools in to national primary schools through the implementation of Clause 21 (2) of the 1961 Education Act.
Unless Haji Suhaimi repudiates his 1980 UMNO Youth Speech on the implementation of Clause 21 (2) of the 1961 Education Act, his ‘assurance’ that Chinese primary schools would not be converted in any manner is like the assurance of a tiger telling a lamb that it need fear no harm, even when the tiger is very hungry!
The MCA, however, must give the Chinese community a satisfactory explanation as to why firstly, its Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Chan Siang Sun, is so incompetent and irresponsible as to allow the 3M system to be implemented in Chinese primary schools without any knowledge or interest to find out earlier. Why is it Haji Suhaimi, who became Deputy Education Minister for only a few months, could make ‘policy’ statements about the 3M, while Datuk Chan Siang Sun, who had been the longest Deputy Minister in any Ministry, could not even know what is happening in his Ministry. The MCA should expel Datuk Chang Siang Sun and strip him of his Deputy Education Minister ship, for no one in Malaysian political history had so disgraced his own office and responsibility by such gross incompetence as Datuk Chan Siang Sun!
Secondly, the MCA must explain why its officials, in the meeting with Haji Suhaimi yesterday, were trying to help present Haji Suhaimi as a ‘great defender of Chinese primary schools’?
The 3M system would be implemented year by year, with each subsequent standard, for the next six years. This means that for the next six years, Chinese primary schools are going to come under contiual test as to whether its character and integrity could be preserved, or would come under one form of administrative conversion or another.
The Chinese community must demand that this type of ‘guerrilla’ warfare to protect Chinese primary schools from all sorts of new-fangled administrative conversions must stop once and for all. This could only come about through a categorical and unqualified acceptance by the government that Chinese primary schools would forever be an integral part of the Education system, receiving fair and equal treatment, whether in terms of funds, teacher-training, school buildings, class-size. etc.
This can only b dong by the Government making two unmistakable commitments to the eternal preservation of Chinese primary schools:
1. the repeal of Clause 21(2)of the 1961 Education Act to declare the abandonment of the Barisan policy that eventually Chinese primary schools would be eliminated;
2. Cabinet Policy Statement to amend the Mahathir Cabinet Review Committee Report and Recommendation regarding the continuation of the Chinese primary school system as ‘temporary’ of for the present circumstances. In its place, the Cabinet must declare that ‘for all circumstances and for all times, Chinese and Tamil primary schools system would be safeguarded, promoted and developed in accordance with the wishes of Malaysians to provide mother-tongue education for the children.’
If the Barisan Nasional government is not prepared to make this unmistakable and irrevocable commitment to the eternal preservation of the character of Chinese and Tamil primary schools in accordance with the wishes of the parents, and Chinese and Tamil primary schools had every year to fight ‘guerrilla tactics’ of those who want to convert it in one wayor another, then in the nest general elections in April or August, the Barisan must be made to hear the demands of the people loudly and unmistakably!