Cable to Anwar Ibrahim to freeze all transfer orders sending those unversed in Chinese language to be Assistant Headmasters and Senior Assistants to Penang Chinese primary schools until controversy is resolved


Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Saturday, Sept. 5.1987 at 12 noon

Cable to Anwar Ibrahim to freeze all transfer orders sending those unversed in Chinese language to be Assistant Headmasters and Senior Assistants to Penang Chinese primary schools until controversy is resolved

I have cable the Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, to freeze all transfer orders issued by the Penang Education Department sending teaching staff unversed in Chinese language to become Assistant Headmasters and Senior Assistants of Chinese primary schools in Penang.

As the Education Ministry has given an undertaking in 1962 that it will not send those not versed in Chinese language to be headmaster or assistant headmasters of Chinese primary schools, the education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim should honour this pledge.

Otherwise, the Education Ministry would be breaking more pledges than honouring them, considering that the government has also broken its 1986 general elections pledge to amend Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act in the first meeting of the new Parliament last October.

This morning, DAP National Chairman, Dr. Chen Man Hin (MP for Seremban), DAP National Organising Secretary, Chian Heng Kai (MP for Bukit Mertajam), Penang State Treasurer, Tan Loo Jit (SA for Batu Lanchang), Perak Assembly for Jalong, Liew Sam Fong, Penang DAP Chinese Education Bureau official, Pow Kim Seng, and I met the Chairman of the Penang and Province Wellesley United Chinese School Management Association, Datuk Choong Han Leong, and Executive Secretary, Choong Ching Kuan, to discuss the problem of the Education Ministry sending those unversed in Chinese language to be Assistant Headmasters and Senior Assistants in over 12 Chinese primary schools presently known to be affected.

The objection to the sending of those unversed in Chinese language to be Assistant headmasters and Senior Assistants in Chinese primary schools is right and legitimate, and must be respected by the Ministry, if the government is sincere that it would not seek to change the character of Chinese primary schools by any means.

If the government does not take immediate action to put a stop to the sending of those unversed in Chinese language to Chinese primary schools to be Assistant Headmasters and Senior Assistant, then the Chinese community would be fully justified in regarding the action as a prelude to the government’s action to amend the 1961 Education Act to disregard the rightful place of Chinese primary schools in Malaysian education system.

I have checked with the Penang Education Department, and been informed that the lastest controversy is the result of a promotion exercise with the creation of three new pasts in each school, namely Assistant Headmaster No.2, Penyelia Co-Curriculum, and Penyelia Kanan Petang.

The explanation by the Education Department is that there are inadequate Chinese educated teachers applying for these posts (as it involves in some cases a $40 increase, although the successful applicant may be transferred to a distant school in Penang state), resulting in the filling of some of the 210 posts with teacher from national primary schools or national secondary schools not versed in Chinese language.

Whatever the problems the Education Department may have in filling the promotion posts for the 90 Chinese primary schools in Penang. Three important principles cannot be compromise

The character if Chinese primary schools cannot be changed in any manner, and the sending of those unversed in Chinese language to be assistant headmaster or senior assistants is to seek to changed the character of Chinese primary school;

Any promotion exercise affecting Chinese primary schools should be confined to the Chinese primary school system, in other words, there should be no cross-promotion of teachers from national primary or secondary school to Chinese primary school – as this will be a one way traffic, for there is not likely to be any promotion of Chinese educated teachers from Chinese primary school to national primary or secondary schools.

The boards of Management of the schools should be consulted in such promotion.
In 1972, the Government amended the Education Act to abolish the Boards of Management, to make them into a redundant body apart from collecting donations for the school. Gerakan President,
Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, fully supported the motive behind the amendment at the time, although he suggested that the name of the Boards of Management be retained, although their real powers removed. Dr. Lim Keng Yaik’s advice has been followed, and one result is the current controversy of those not versed in Chinese being promoted to become assistant headmasters and Senior Assistant to Chinese primary schools.

If this is allowed, then it will not be long when Chinese primary schools will be having headmasters who do not know the Chinese language. Then what type of a Chinese primary school will they become?

The Penang Education Department should fully consult the Penang and Province Wellesley United Chinese School Management Association to resolve the present controversy for all the 210-odd promotion posts in the 90 Chinese primary schools to be filled by those versed in Chinese language.

I believe that the teachers who are not versed in Chinese language will not be able to work efficiently or comfortably in the Chinese primary schools, not only because of language problem, but the strained relationship by imposing them in the Chinese primary schools.

DAP condemns assault on Karpal Singh

DAP condemns in the strongest possible terms tha assault on Karpal Singh, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Jelutong, in Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday.

The Police knew that there would be an assault, but yet was unable to prevent it, and this is most deplorable. The Police owe Sdr. Karpal Singh and the public an apology for failure to prevent the assault, although it had information before hand. I am sure is this had happened to a Minister, some one in the Police force would be sacked.

I hope UMNO, MCA, Gerakan, MIC and all Barisan Ministers and leaders will publicly condemn the assault, to demonstrate that they do not condone such incidents.

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