Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung. Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Ceramah in Kuala Kurau, Perak on Friday, 18.9.1987 at 10 p.m.
Call on all Chinese primary school boards of managements, parents and students to be the ‘monitors’ to ensure that Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, keeps his pledge to rectify the sending of those not versed in Chinese language to occupy senior staff positions
The DAP took a very strong stand against the promotion of those not versed in Chinese language to be assistant headmasters and senior assistants of Chinese primary schools in Penang State, for this represent a serious erosion of the character of Chinese primary schools.
There is no doubt that if the Chinese community does not protest and halt the promotion of those unversed in Chinese language to be assistants headmasters and senior assistants in Chinese primary schools, then it will be a question of time before they get promoted to become Chinese primary school principals.
The next stage will be the teaching of Chinese language in Chinese primary schools in Bahasa Malaysia, as is happening in the University of Malaya where elective courses in Chinese is taughh in the medium of Bahasa Malaysia.
The Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, has publicly said that the government would rectify this matter, and ensure that only those versed in Chinese language are promoted to be assistant headmasters and senior assistants in Chinese primary schools.
The history of the Barisan Nasional government shows clearly that the assurances of Ministers does not mean much, for it is not unusual for the Ministers to give an assurance today and forget it tomorrow.
In the 1986 general elections, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, himself promised that Section(2) of the 1961 Education Act would be amended in the first meeting of the new Parliament to allay the fear of the Chinese community that Section(2) would be used to convert Chinese primary schools into national primary schools.
The new Parliament after the 1986 general elections has met three times already, and will be meeting for the fourth time for two months from October 12. There was no government proposal to amend Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act, in the last three parliamentary meetings, and at the meeting of DAP MPs with Anwar Ibrahim in August, the Education Minister said that no amendments to the 1961 Education act would be tabled in the forthcoming parliamentary meeting.
If the Prime Minister’s solemn assurance in the general elections about the amendment of Section 21(2) of 1961 Education Act could be broken and disregarded, how much easier it would be for Ministers to give and forget assurances!
I call on school boards of management, parents and students of all Chinese primary schools in the country to monitor the fulfilment of the pledge by Anwar Ibrahim that those unversed in Chinese language would not be promoted and sent to Chinese primary schools to become assistant headmasters and senior assistants.