By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Parliament on Wednesday, October 14, 1987:
Support for the decision of 28 affected Chinese primary schools in Penang joining the three-day school boycott beginning tomorrow.
DAP welcome and support the decision by the Defend Penang Chinese Schools Action Committee that the 28 affected Chinese primary schools in Penang will join in the three-day nation-wide schools boycott together with 18 other schools in Malacca, Selangor and Federal Territory to protest against the refusal of the government to resolve the issue of promoting non-Chinese educated teacher as assistant headmaster and senior assistants.
DAP MPs and Assemblymen in Penang will visit the 28 affected Chinese primary schools during the boycott to support, as well as to participate in the forefront of such protest action.
As I have committed myself tomorrow to visit the Malacca schools, starting with the Masjid Tanah Chinese Primary Schools where the parents had the courage to stage the first protest action two weeks ago, I will visit the affected Penang Chinese Primary Schools on Friday, the second day of the three-day boycott.
3,000 people who attended the Tien Hou Temple protest meeting on Sunday must be very sad at Won See Chin ‘turn-about’ in 24 hours.
The 3,000 people from all over the country who attended Sunday’s Chinese organisation/political parties mass protest meeting at tien Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur on the Chinese primary schools promotion issue must be very sad that the MCA Vice President and Deputy Education Minister, Woon See Chin, could turn-around in 24 hours.
On Sunday, Woon See Chin said he was prepared to lose his Deputy Ministership over the Chinese primary schools promotion issue.
But yesterday, in a press conference surrounded by top Education Ministry officials, Woon See Chin said he is prepared to face disciplinary action by the MCA for his call on the Chinese schools parents to ignore the three-day boycott of schools by pupils resolved by Sunday’s meeting, at which Woon See Chin, together with other MCA Ministers and Deputy Ministers present , put up their hands high to give support.
New Straits Times reported that Woon See Chin called the press conference yesterday to release the text of the speech which he was unable to finish reading during the emergency debate on the issue in Parliament on Monday. This means that within 24 hours, Woon See Chin was already singing a totally different tune!
Woon See Chin has broken ranks and reneged from his stand at the Tien Hou Temple mass protest meeting on Sunday, but I hope the other MCA Ministers and Deputy Ministers present, like Datuk Lee Kim Sai, Ng Cheng Kiat, Chan Siang Sun, Oo Gin Sun, Ng Cheng Kuai, Loke Yuen Yow, and Kok Wee Kiat, who had publicly expressed support for the Five Resolutions of the mass protest meeting by
putting their hands high in full support, would stand firm by their public commitment.
I hope to meet them, including MCA President, Datuk Ling Liong Sik, during out tour of the affected Chinese primary schools during the three-day boycott to be at the forefront of such protest.
For the present, I would not comment as to what MCA should do about the Woon See Chin case, leaving to the MCA leaders to deal with it as Woon See Chin’s position is clearly untenable, whether for himself or for MCA.
Education Ministry has no sincerity or seriousness in solving the issue.
The root-cause of the educational crisis, with the impending three-day school boycott by the 46 affected Chinese primary schools in four states, is the lack of sincerity or seriousness of the Education Ministry to resolve this issue.
Dr. Lim Keng Yaik had said that the Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, had agreed to resolve the issue four weeks ago. If this is the sace, then why did Anwar Ibrahim give the ‘gren light’ for more transfers and promoting of non-Chinese educated teachers to senior positions in Chinese primary schools to proceed, not only in Pahang State, but also in Malacca, Federal Territory and Selangor.
If four weeks ago, Anwar Ibrahim had stopped further transfers and promotions of non-Chinese educated teachers to senior positions in Chinese Primary schools, then the problem would not have spread to Malacca, Selangor and Federal Territory, and the educational crisis confronting the nation today would never have occurred. Who is therefore responsible for engineering the present educational crisis?
I for one, do not know whether Anwar Ibrahim had promised to resolve the issue four weeks ago, for the Education Ministry’s actions in the past four weeks on this issue does not support such a conclusion.