Speech by parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Ceramah at Transport Workers’ Union Hal, PJ on Friday, 2.10.1987 at 9p.m. to launch the DAP’s 1990s Movement in Selangor State.
Call on Prime Minister to curb his Ministers from making irresponsible allegations which endanger Malaysia’s inter-racial and inter-religious relations in the country.
On Monday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, called for end to “irresponsible allegations”, such as those claiming the Christians ere trying to convert Malays, because such talk could lead to dispute which could be extremely dangerous in a multi-racial and multi-religious country like Malaysia.
The Prime Minister warned that the people should be careful about making statement on religion because it could lead to riots between different religious communities. Dr. Mahathir said there was no clear evidence to support allegations that Christians were proselytizing amongs the Malays, nor the allegation by PAS President, Haji Yusof Rawa, that 66,000 Malays had converted to Christianity and other religions.
I fully support the Prime Minister’s call for great sensitivity to be exercised by all Malaysians on questions of religion, for it is the duty of all Malaysian leaders to ensure that religious polarization does not become a new force of division in Malaysia.
The Prime Minister has need to curb his Ministers from making irresponsible allegations about religion which can endanger Malaysia’s inter-racial and inter-religious relations. In fact, the recent religious ‘scare’ about Malays being converted to Christianity was started by the Youth and Cultural Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, and it was after Datuk Najib’s statement that the PAS President came out with his allegation of 66,000 Malays being converted to other religions.
Malaysia had just celebrated our 30 years of nationhood, what separates the last ten years from the first twenty years of Malaysian nationhood is the growing problem of religious polarization, which started to become serious with the government’s Islamisatation programme five years ago.
There is now greater religious intolerance and this unhealthy trend could be illustrated bt the fact that in the first 20 years of the Malaysian national, the various major religions in Malaysia could have a dialogue which is not possible in the last ten years!
There is no doubt that there is growing concern and alarm at the role religious palarisation will play in Malaysia in the 1990s, especially with the increasing calls for an Islamic State. It is for this reason that Tunku Abdul Rahman must be commended for re-stating that Malaysia mut remain a secular state because of the country’s racial composition.
Unfortunately, the UMNO do not seem to be so commited to the secular basis of the Malaysian nation and Constitution, and although some of them would publicly state that an Islamic State is not appropriate for Malaysia at this juncture, seem to leave their positions open as to whether Malaysia should in future be an Islamic State.
I would urge the Prime Minister to pay regard to the growing unease, unhappiness and worry of Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh religions in Malaysia, and to take necessary steps to ensure that the sensitivities and rights of all religions in Malaysia are given respect and special government attention.
Call on MCA and Gerakan Ministers and Deputy Ministers to resign of the problem of promotion of those unversed in Mandarin to senior posts in Chinese primary schools is not resolved by Oct.9
DAP calls on MCA and Gerakan Ministers and Deputy Ministers to resign from the Government if the problem of promotion of those unversed in Mandarin as assistant headmasters and senior assistants is not resolved by Oct.9.
TV3 news tonight said that the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, has today officially protested to the Education Ministry about the issue. I am surprised that the MCA presidents and Ministers need more than a month to take a stand on this issue, and had not raised this matter in Cabinet although it had met five times during this period.
What Datuk Dr. Ling should do, is not to protest to the Education Ministry, but protest to the Prime Minister, Datuk Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, and to demand an emergency Cabinet meeting to resolve this problem once and for all.
The issue of the Education Ministry sending those unversed in Mandarin to Chinese primary schools on promotion to senior posts is the greatest threat to the continued preservation of the character and identity of Chinese primary schools since the 3M issue in 1981.
It is the result of two actions taken by the Barisan Nasional government over the last two decades, calculated to achieve the long-term educational objective of having only one language medium of instruction in all schools.
Firstly, the abolition of the Boards of Management’s traditional powers in the 1972 amendment to the Education Act, which received the full support of the MCA and in particular, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, the present Gerakan President.
If the traditional powers of the Board of Management of the Chinese primary schools had not been abolished, the issue of the promotion of those unversed in Mandarin to become assistant headmasters and senior assistants of Chinese primary schools would never happen, because the Board would have the veto power against such transfers and promotions.
Having fully supported the abolition of these traditional powers of the Board of Management, which would have been a powerful safeguard against any conversion of Chinese primary schools, the MCA and Gerakan Ministers must be held fully responsible if they allowed the Education Ministry to use its new powers to promote those unversed in Mandarin to senior posts in Chinese primary schools.
Secondly, the failure of the Education Ministry to ensure that there is a adequate reservoir of trained teachers in keeping with the needs of Chinese primary schools. The Education Ministry now blame the Chinese school teachers for creating the present problem, on the ground that not enough qualified teachers with Chinese language background had applied for the posts.
This is most unfair, for if in the last two decades, the Education Ministry had been fair to Chinese primary schools, and organised teacher-training courses for Chinese schools instead of depending on the thousands of temporary teachers to fill the gap, the Education Ministry would definitely have a larger reservoir of qualified teacher to choose from.
It may be said that the present problems are entirely the creation of the decades of neglect and indifference of the Education Ministry to teacher-training requirements of Chinese primary schools.