by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Malacca on Tuesday, July 15, 1986:
National Language Convention organised by UMNO yesterday is the most powerful reason why Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act should be repealed and not amended
The National Language Convention organised by UMNO because of coming general elections is the most powerful reason why Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act should be repealed and not amended.
The Universiti Utara Malaysia Vice Chancellor, Tan Sri Awang Had Salleh, said in his paper at the Convention that it was ‘most unfortunate’ that 30 years after Independence, there are people who do not want Chinese and Tamil primary schools to use Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction- in other words, agree to the convention of Chinese and Tamil primary schools into national primary schools.
Let me state that it was ‘even more unfortunate’ that 30 years after Merdeka, there are people like Tan Sri Awang Had Salleh and UMNO leaders who do not want to accept the fact that Chinese and Tamil primary schools have a fundamental tight to continue as an integral part of the national education system, and not to be regarded as a ‘un-natural growth’ which should be eliminated.
Tan Sri Awang Had Salleh wants Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act, which empowers the Education Minister to convert Chinese and Tamil primary schools into national primary schools when he deems fit, to be retained so that eventually, there would only be one medium of instruction in the national language, as provided for in the 1956 Razak Report.
UMNO Youth Leader and Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim in his closing speech, said UMNO would not compromise with any quarter over Bahasa Malaysia’s position as medium of instruction. As the UMNO’s policy is that there should ‘ultimately’ be only one medium of instruction, which must mean the conversion of Chinese and Tamil primary schools into national primary schools, the message is loud and clear to all!
For those who have had thought that an amendment to Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act is enough, should re-think with the UMNO’s National Language Convention yesterday!
I call on MCA and Gerakan to hold emergency meetings of their Central Committers to take a firm stand that Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act should be repealed, especially after the UMNO’s National Language Convention yesterday.
Anwar Ibrahim said that Bahasa Malaysia should not be made a subject of controversy by any quarter now because it had been accepted as the national language by the various races even before Independence.
The more pertinent question Anwar Ibrahim should address himself to, is not that Bahasa Malaysia is made a subject of controversy, but why UMNO and other leaders are making the constitutional right to the free use, study and learning of mother-tongue languages like Chinese and Mandarin, a constant subject of controversy?
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr.Mahathir Mohamed, assured the people that there Government would not restrict the use of ethnic languages.
Can the Prime minister then explain why there has been the long-standing problem of the use of Chinese, for instance, on signboards and advertisements, to the extent that a Chinese language banner welcoming MCA Minister for Transport, Dr.Ling Liong Sik, to a function in Ipoh was hauled down by Ipoh municipal worker?
If there is no restriction on the use of mother-tongue Languages, why is it the Minister of Education and Ministry of Information had refused to telecast school television programmes in Mandarin and Tamil for the benefits of studentsin Chinese and Tamil primary schools?
Again, why is it there has been no Chinese or Tamil news over TV3 up to now?
Anwar Ibrahim said in the Convention that is the people’s responsibility, not UMNO’s alone, to ensure the continued of Bahasa Malaysia as the country’s official language, and that the people must go all out to oppose any effort to dispute the national agreement on Bahasa Malaysia.
Anwar Ibrahim seems to have forgotten that Article 152 of the Malaysian Constitution enshrines not only the position of Bahasa Malaysia as the official and national language, it also enshrines the position of Chinese and Tamil and the constitutional gurantee of free use, study and teaching.
Why did UMNO’s Convention concern itself only with the first limb, excluding completely the equally crucial second limb on the position of Chinese and Tamil languages?
Would Anwar Ibrahim declare equally strongly that it is the responsibility of UMNO and every Malaysian to go all out to oppose any effort by any quarter questioning the constitutional place and status of Mandarin and Tamil-which is over and above all other foreign languages, like Arabic, Japanese, French, etc?
From present indications, UMNO would not honour what Tan Koon Swan had promised in Kota Bahru on 23rd May 1986 that the MCA will leave the Barisan Nasional if the Government does not amend Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act at the next parliamentary sitting or include it in the Barisan Nasional General Elections Manifesto.
The Second option, of inclusion in Barisan Nasional Manifesto, is now closed to Tan Koon Swan and MCA. This is because Parliament was called to meet yesterday, but was postponed till July 21, and may not meet at all, as there is tale of dissolution before Monday. This means that the Parliamentary meeting of July 14 onwards were cancelled to dishonour the MCA pledge that Section 21(2) of the 1961
Education Act would be amended at the next parliamentary meeting.
Is MCA under Tan Koon Swan now going to pull out of the Barisan Nasional to honour his Kota Bahru threat?
DAP to propose a ‘no confidence; motion against Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, for the inconsequential charges of illegal assembly, procession and demonstration for the 12 black days of March in Sabah
Nineteen persons, including USNO and Berjaya political leaders, were charged in the Kota Kinabalu sessions court yesterday for illegal assembly, procession and demonstration between March 12 and 19, while an warrant of corrupt has been issued against USNO MP for Kota Belud, Yahya Lampong, who did not turn up in court.
The people of Sabah and Malaysia are extremely disappointed that for the 12 black days of March in Sabah, where five persons were killed and $10 million property destroyed, the Attorney-General could only come out with the highly inconsequential charges of illegal assembly, procession and demonstration.
How could illegal assembly, procession and demonstration create the fear, panic and inrest in Sabah, where curfew had to be imposed for the first time in Kota Kinabalu, and result in bomb blasts, arson and rioting, killing five persons and destroyed $10 million property?
Why was not all the political leaders, including former Sabah Chief Minister, Harris Salleh, who take part in the March events, charged?
The DAP will move a ‘no confidence’ motion again to the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Othman Talib, at the parliamentary meeting on July 21 for his failure to prefer charges corrensurate with the gravity if the 12 black days of March in Sabah.