By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Monday, 17.8.1987:
The Cabinet Ministers will be abdicating their responsibilities by leaving the University of Malaya elective course controversy to the Prime Minister to resolve.
We are seeing more and ore instances of Ministers, and even Deputy Ministers of the same Ministry, contradicting each other. There seems of late to be a shocking lack of leadership, unity of purpose and even discipline in the Cabinet.
Yesterday, one Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Teo Michael Toyad, said that as far as the Ministry of Education is concerned, the University of Malaya elective course issue is closed and settled. But in today’s press, another Deputy Education Minister, Woon See Chin, disagreed, and claimed that the matter is still alive and open. Woon See Chin said the Cabinet had decided to refer the matter to Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, the Prime Minister, to resolve the issue.
Three important issues are involved here:
Firstly, how could two Deputy Education Ministers be saying completely different things on the same issue. Surely, one of them is wrong and misleading the public. The Malaysian people want to know which Deputy Education Minister is misleading the public, and to demand him to apologise to the country or he should be disciplined or even sacked. I hope the Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, could put an end to this sorry mess in his Ministry which does not reflect well on his leadership in the Ministry of Education.
Secondly, did the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, promise to resolve the University of Malaya elective course issue, and get the University of Malaya Senate to rescind its earlier decision so as to restore the use of Chinese and Tamil languages as medium of instruction for elective courses? The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, has done nothing on this controversy which had dragged on for over a month. Going by the Prime Minister’s actions, he does not regard himself as in way involved with the University of Malaya elective course issue. Why can’t the Prime Minister or the Education Minister make a concrete announcement that Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir would intervene to resolve the university of Malaya elective course issue? Up to now, it is only the MCA Ministers who are making this claim, and from past record, MCA Minister’ claims are not a worth a single cent.
Thirdly, aren’t the Ministers aware that they are abdicating their Cabinet responsibilities by leaving the University of Malaya elective course controversy to the Prime Minister to resolve? Is the Prime Minister subservient to the Cabinet, or the Cabinet subservient to the Prime Minister? I do not believe the Prime Minister would claim that he could override the Cabinet’s powers and decisions, as the Prime Minister has always said that he is bound by the Cabinet’s decisions. Why then, have the Ministers, in particular the MCA, MIC and Gerakan Ministers, pass the buck by leaving the issue to the Prime Minister, instead of getting the Cabinet to make a policy decision on the University of Malaya elective course issue?
The Cabinet is meeting again on Wednesday, 19th August 1987, and I hope the MCA, MIC and Gerakan Ministers would collectively demand that the Cabinet taken decision on the University of Malaya elective course issue, instead of playing the game of delay and inactions.