By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Malacca on Monday, 26.5.1986:
Ghaffar Baba has raised doubts about Tan Koon Swan’s Kota Bahru Statement on Section 21(2) of 1961 Education Act.
In Kota Bahru last Thursday, MCA president, Tan Koon Swan said the government will amend the controversial Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act at the next parliament session beginning July 4, and that if Parliament was dissolved before then for an early general elections, the amendments would be carried in the Barisan Nasional’s manifesto.
The amendment to Section 21(2) to the 1961 Education Act is completely unacceptable, for it shows that the government is not sincere or serious in its claim that it will not seek to close or convert any Chinese primary school.
However, it is also not clear whether Tan Koon Swan’s Kota Bahru statement is a mere election gimmick, or was made with the authority and consent of the Barisan Nasional Government.
Firstly, Parliament is not scheduled to meet on July 4, but July 14. Sis the Prime Minister privately tell Tan Koon Swan that if general elections are not held earlier, then Parliament would be advanced 10 days from July 14 to July 4?
I have checked with Parliament officials, and they are completely baffled as to where Tan Koon Swan got the information of Parliament meeting on July 4 if there is no earlier general elections.
Secondly, Datuk Musa Hitam, the former Deputy Prime Minister and UMNO Deputy President, has said that he was not aware of any move to amend Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act.
Thirdly, the Deputy Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional Secretary- General, Ghaffar Baba, did not endorse Tan Koon Swan’s claim, for he said that the Barisan Nasional had yet to plan its manifesto for the general elections. All that Ghaffar Baba promised was that ‘Tan Koon Swans’s views could be considered’ in the formulation of the BN manifesto.
I call on Tan Koon Swan and the MCA Central Executive Committee to take a strong stand in accordance with the aspirations of the Chinese community, and get Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act repealed in the July 14 Parliament, and have it included in the Barisan Nasional manifesto if general elections are held earlier.