Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP demonstrating outside Penang Education Depart protesting against the promotion of non-Chinese Educated teachers to Chinese primary schools, held on Saturday, Oct. 10, 1987 at 10 a.m.
DAP resolves that Answer Ibrahim and Wong See Chin should resign as Education Minister and Deputy Education Minister respectively for their failure to resolve the issue of promotion of non-Chinese educated teachers to Chinese primary school by yesterday.
The DAP’s two-week deadline for the Education Ministry to resolve the issue of the promotion of non-Chinese educated teachers to become assistant headmasters and senior assistants of Chinese primary schools expire yesterday.
The Education Ministry has more than ample time to resolve this issue, which will be entering its seventh week, if the government is sincere and serious in respecting the rights and sensitivities of Chinese community that there should be no move to endanger the character, identity and integrity of Chinese primary schools.
For this reason, with effect from today, the DAP will launch a nation-wide campaign to protest and oppose the Education Ministry’s transfer of teachers unversed in Mandarin to senior administrative positions in Chinese primary schools.
For a start, the DAP has resolved that the Education Minister. Anwar Ibrahim, and the Deputy Education Minister, Wong See Chin, should respectively resign from their office, for they must bear responsibility for this issue.
If Anwar Ibrahim and Wong See Chin had been responsible Education Minister, they will never allow this issue to develop to this magnitude. Furthermore, if Anwar Ibrahim and Wong See Chin could not foresee that any attempt to promote teachers unversed in Mandarin to Chinese primary schools as assistant headmaster and senior assistants will create a nation-wide upload, then they are not fit to be the No. 1 and No. 2 men in charge of education in Malaysia.
The furore over the mass transfer of teacher unversed in Mandarin to Chinese primary schools as assistant headmaster and senior assistants is the sole creation of the Education Ministry, and the Chinese community had already given the Education Ministry long enough time to resolve it. If six weeks is not enough, how long more do Anwar and Wong See Chin want? Six months or six years?
The DAP’s nation-wide campaign to protest and oppose the Education Ministry’s attempt to change the character of Chinese primary schools by its latest promotions and transfers will include the holding of demonstrations, protest ceramahs, and other activities which will involve the public in the campaign. As part of this campaign, the DAP will give full support to all efforts by any organization aimed at getting the Ministry to respect the rights and sensitivities of the Chinese community on the preservation of the character of Chinese primary schools, and this is why the DAP is co-operating fully in the movement of Chinese organisations and political parties on this issue. I will personally represent the DAP at Kuala Lumpur Protest Conference tomorrow of Chinese organisations and political parties in the sending of teachers unversed in Mandarin to Chinese primary schools on promotion. This is to show that the DAP is very serious about our commitment in the struggle to preserve the character and identity of Chinese primary schools.
Chinese community quite tired and skeptical of Ghaffar Baba’s assurance on continued existence of Chinese primary schools unless government can fulfil its broken promises of the past
Deputy Prime Minister, Ghaffar Baba, in Sungai Patani yesterday assured the Chinese community that the Barisan Nasional Government will allow the continued existence of Chinese schools.
The Chinese community is quite tired and skeptical of assurances by Ghaffar Baba and other Barisan Nasional leaders, because the government has a long list of broken promises in the past.
Only last year, during the 1986 general elections, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahatir Mohamed, promised that Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act would be amended in the first meeting of the new Parliament has met three times already, and this promise has not been honoured.
The MCA, for its part, solemnly promised that if the Prime Minister’s undertaking on Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act is not kept, MCA Ministers will resign from Government. This has also been broken.
In July, the Prime Minister, according to MCA and MIC Ministers, promised to resolve the controversy over the University of Malaya Senate decision abolishing the use of Chinese and Tamil language as medium of instruction for optional subjects. Three months have passed, and nothing has been done. This is another broken promise.
Only last Wednesday, we were witness to another broken Barisan Nasional promise. MCA Ministers made Malaysian Chinese believe that they are going to be very firm and uncompromising on the issue of the promotion of teachers unversed in Mandarin to Chinese primary schools, but in the Cabinet meeting three days ago, not one of the four MCA Ministers brought up the issue in Cabinet.
After 30 years, the people, and in particular the Chinese community, are tired of assurances which means nothing. In fact, many books could be written about the broken promises of the Barisan Nasional government.
Ghaffar Baba should realise that his Sungai Patani assurances means nothing, when the government had continued to break election manifest oes and promises.
If Ghaffar Baba wants his Sungai Patani assurances to be taken seriously, then let him, as Deputy Prime Minister, issue a directive to the Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, and Deputy Education Minister, Wong See Chin, to immediately resolve the Chinese primary school promotions issue!