by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 29.12.1984:
The reduction of the 3M Chinese language period time a change in character of Chinese primary schools
It has been reported today that beginning with the new school year on 1.1.1985, the 3M Chinese primary school curriculum would reduce Chinese language period from the previous 240 minuts in eight periods per week to 210 minutes in seven periods per week, to enable the increase of Bahasa Malaysia periods from 240 minutes to 270 minutes per week.
This is clearly a drastic step in the change of character of Chinese primary schools, and which must be opposed, for being imposed without consultation and consent of the parents who send their children to Chinese primary schools.
If the reduction in the Chinese language periods is not in Chinese primary schools is allowed to go unchallenged, then at the rate of reduction of one period of 30 minutes of the Chinese language instruction for each new school year, in another five years, Chinese language period would have been reduced to two periods of 60 minutes weekly by the year 1990 – which would be the same as that of the English teaching period! By that time, Chinese primary schools would exist only in name!
The DAP calls for the immediate restoration of the 240 minutes of 8 periods per week of Chinese language instruction in the Chinese primary schools, and advise the Barisan Nasional government not to ride roughshod over the mother-tongue educational rights and sensitivities of a substantial section of the Malaysian population.
Over the years, the survival of Chinese primary schools had come under threat in many guises and forms. The proposal to reduce the Chinese language teaching period progressively over time is the latest and most threatening, and the DAP calls on the MCA and Gerakan Cabinet Ministers to take a firm stand in the coming Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting to halt this new attack on the preservation of character of Chinese primary schools.
MCA Ministers who are out of the country on holiday should rush back to Malaysia to deal with the latest 3M crisis for Chinese primary schools.
The DAP recognises the need to improve the teaching and standard of Bahasa Malaysia and English in Chinese primary schools, but this must not be done at the expense of turning the Chinese primary schools into national primary schools.
If the Barisan Nasional government is genuinely concerned about raising the standard of Bahasa Malaysia in Chinese primary schools, and not to find an excuse to change the character of Chinese primary schools, then the Barisan Nasional government must drop its present plan to reduce the Chinese language teaching period and find a different answer to this problem.