Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, at the Special Meeting of Selangor/Federal Territory DAP Branch leaders to discuss the 3M implementation in Chinese and Tamil primary schools held at Kuala Lumpur DAP Branch, 63D Jalan Sultan, on Saturday, 9.1.1982 at 7pm.
Lim Kit Siang telegrammed MCA, Gerakan and SUPP and MIC leaders proposing that the MCA , Gerakan, SUPP Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and MPs join DAP MPs to hold a Special Joint Meeting in Kuala Lumpur next week to submit a requisition for a Emergency Parliamentary meeting to suspend the 3M in Chinese and Tamil primary schools.
I have today cabled the MCA President, Datuk Lee San Choon (or in the event of his continued absence, whoever acts in his capacity), the Gerakan President, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, the SUPP President Tan Sri Datuk Ong Kee Hui, and MIC President, Datuk Samy Vellu, suggesting common action by MCA, Gerakan, MIC and SUPP Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and MPs, together with DAP MPs, to jointly requisition for a Special Emergency Parliamentary meeting to suspend the implementation of the 3M system for Chinese and Tamil primary school.
I had suggested that in views of the urgency and seriousness of the 3M implementation in Chinese and Tamil primary schools to their character, all MCA, Gerakan, SUPP and MIC Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, MPs, together with DAP MPs, should hold a Special Joint Meeitng in Kuala Lumpur next week to submit a requisition for a Special Emergency Parliamentary meeting on the 3M system.
My cable to the MCA, Gerakan, SUPP and MIC leaders read:
“The 3M implemented in Chinese and Tamil primary schools against the wishes of the Chinese and Indian communities, and that of the parents of the students in the schools affected, poses grave threat to the preservation of the character and integrity of Chinese and Tamil primary schools.
“Despite first 1982 weekly Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, 6.1.1982, and the widespread national protests and representations, the Government had reaffirmed its intention to implement 3M in Chinese and Tamil primary schools without interruption.
“Parliament is now the last resort which could direct the Cabinet to suspend the 3M implementation in Chinese and Tamil primary schools to protect the character of Chinese and Tamil primary schools.
“DAP suggest a joint meeting of MCA, Gerakan, SUPP and MIC Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and MPs , together with DAP MPs, in Kuala Lumpur to jointly demand a Special Emergency Parliamentary meeting to protect the character of Chinese and Tamil primary schools by way of motion demanding:
1. immediate suspension of 3M implementation in Chinese and Tamil primary school;
2. Repeal of Clause 21 (2) of 1961 Education Act;
3. Amendment of Mahathir Cabinet Committee Report to specifically provide that Chinese and Tamil primary schools are permanent features and not temporary expedients.
“Please cable reply.”
3M system in Chinese primary schools would lead to lowering of standards in mathematics
The 3M implementation in Chinese primary schools would not only lead to the change in character of Chinese primary schools, it would also lead to the lowering of standards, especially in mathematics.
All along, Chinese primary schools had distinguished itself as being superior in mathematics standards as compared to other primary school pupils. Any educational measure to upgrade the mathematical standards of other primary schools to match that of the Chinese primary schools would get the support of all Malaysians. However, any measure which would lead to the lowering of mathematical standards of Chinese primary schools cannot find acceptance among.
This would appear to be the case under the 3M implementation for Chinese primary schools. Under the old syllabus, a Chinese primary school Std. One pupil would learn to do arithmetic up to 100, but under the 3M system, a Std. One pupil would learn to do arithmetic up to 50 only.
The 3M system is supposed to increase the 3M skills of students, including that of ‘arithmetic’, but this appears to be doing the opposite. Instead of increasing proficiency in 3M, the student would appear to be acquitting less proficiency!
The statement by the Secretary-General of Malay Teachers’ Association, West Malaysia, Encik Abdul Manan Nor, declaring its ‘solid stand’ behind the Government to implement the 3M, on the ground that “any compromise on the part of the Government will affect racial unity and disrupt the implementation of the National Education Policy” deserve close study by all Malaysians.
Clearly, Encik Abdul Manan Nor had been briefed of things, developments and objectives which the ordinary Malaysian knows nothing about.
How will the demand of the Chinese community for the preservation of the status quo of Chinese primary schools ‘compromise’ the implementation of the National Education Policy, unless the objective of the 3M is not to maintain the status quo, but to start a process to change the status quo.
In his statement on Thursday, the Education Minister, Datuk Sulaiman Daud, said that the 3M implementation is fully based on the Mahathir Cabinet Report, of which Datuk Lee San Choon and Datuk Michael Chen were members.
Datuk Lee and Datuk Michael Chen should openly declare now whether Datuk Sulaiman Daud is right, or whether Datuk Sulaiman Daud is seeking to mislead the people.
Malaysia practise Parliamentary democracy where the government’s mandate to rule comes from the people. If the people are opposed to the implementation of the 3M in its present form to the Chinese primary schools, the Government must respect their wishes and withdraw the 3M implementation. If the Government continues to ride roughshod over the people’s legitimate aspirations and democratic rights, then the people must organise themselves to make their views and demands respected and felt by the Government in a more effective manner.