Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at a meeting of the DAP Parliamentary Group on Chinese Education, Language and Culture held at Parliament House on Tuesday, 13.10.1987 at 3.30 p.m.
Call on MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP and PBS Ministers to table a joint motion in tomorrow Cabinet meeting to transfer out non-Chinese educated teachers who had been promoted to Chinese primary schools to resolve the educational crisis
The country is on the threshold of a grave national educational crisis, with Chinese primary schools affected by the transfer and promotion of non-Chinese educated to begin a three-day school boycott on Thursday if this issue is not resolved by Wednesday tomorrow. If the three-day school boycott by the affected schools is not effective, then it is likely to be followed by a nation-wide boycott of the 1,000 Chinese primary schools in the country.
Tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting is therefore crucial in averting this educational crisis. I call on MCA, Gerakan, SUPP and PBS Minister to table a joint motion in tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting to transfer out non-Chinese educated teachers who had been promoted to Chinese primary schools to resolve the educational crisis.
The demand of the parents and Boards of Managements of Chinese primary schools is a fair, just, lawful and constitutional one – to preserve the status quo of the Chinese primary schools as had been the position in the last 26 years since the 1961 Education Act, with the character and identity intact.
The Barisan Nasional had itself made this pledge in the 1986 general elections manifesto, and the Cabinet would only to fulfilling and honouring its election promise if it decides tomorrow to transfer out the non-Chinese educated teachers from Chinese primary schools to national primary or secondly schools on promotion.
The Barisan Nasional Government must take immediate steps to avert the educational crisis, as MCA and Gerakan Ministers have openly agreed that the Education Ministry’s transfer and promotion exercise would affect the character of Chinese primary schools.
There is in fact 100% unanimity in the Chinese community and political parties with Malaysian Chinese membership that the transfer and promotion exercise threaten the character of Chinese primary schools, and the government must respect this view. Who else is the best judge on the issue of character of Chinese primary schools then the Chinese community and the political parties having Malaysian Chinese membership?
In the general elections, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, said that he would not listen to the DAP and Opposition however loud we shout, but would heed the whisper of MCA, Gerakan and other component parties of Barisan Nasional.
I do not know whether MCA and Gerakan had been “whispering” to the Prime Minister that the transfer and promotion of non-Chinese educated teachers to Chinese primary schools as assistant headmasters and senior assistants would endanger the character of Chinese primary schools, but they are now shouting loudly, at their own functions and also at the Tien Hou Temple mass protest meeting of Chinese organisations and political parties in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday. Even if the Prime Minister and the Cabinet does not want to hear the ‘shouts’ of DAP, how can they ignore the ‘shouts’ of MCA and Gerakan?
DAP MPs will be assigned to visit the affected Chinese primary schools during the three-day school boycott. I will start with the Masjid Tanah Chinese Primary School on Thursday morning, before visiting the other schools.