by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Saturday , 31st March 1990:
Kit Siang cables Anwar Ibrahim to rescind the Federal Territory Education Department directive which divides school children into first and second class citizens
Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, should take immediate action to rescind the Federal Territory Education Department directive which discriminates against children who have one parent who is not a citizen or a red identity-card holder, by disallowing early enrolment or choice of school.
For the last two days, the Deputy Education Minister, Woon See Chin, could only sat that the Federal Territory Education Department was wrong in issuing such a ruling, but he could not do anything to direct the Department to withdraw such a ‘wrong’ ruling.
All citizens in Malaysia must be treated equally, regardless of whether parents are citizens or only one parent is a citizen, and the other parent a non-citizen or a red identity-card holder,
Under Article 14 and Section 1(a) of the Second Schedule of the Constitution, it is clearly stipulated that “every person born within the Federation of whose parents once at least is at the time of the birth either a citizen or permanently resident in the Federation: shall be Malaysian citizen by operation of law.
For the Education Department to discriminate against children who are Malaysians citizens on the ground that one of the parents is a on-citizen or a red-identity-card holder is to divide school children into two classes if citizens, the first class and second class citizens.
The Federal Territory Education Department must be condemned for trying to instil into the minds of the young school children the poison of national division and disunity.
The people have a right to know whether such a ruling is confined only to Federal Territory, or is nationwide. If the latter, who is responsible for the ruling and whether the Education Minister and the Deputy Education Ministers had given their clearance and approval.
I have today cabled the Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, asking him to rescind the Federal Territory Education Department ruling and be mindful of his international position as President of UNESCO and not to set a bad example of discriminating against the future generation of Malaysians of turning them into fist class and second class citizens.
The Responsibility of MCA, Gerakan and MIC Ministers to raise this issue in the Cabinet
My cable to the Education Minister reads:
“31st March 1990
YB Anwar Ibrahim,
Urge immediate action to rescind Federal Territory Education Department ruling discriminating children by creating two classes of citizens: picking on those with one parent who is non-citizen or red identity card holder.
This is violation o the Constitution guarantee of no discrimination against citizens on ground of race, religion, descent or place of birth, as well as a gross violation of human rights to equality of treatment.
The Ministry of Education should be the crucible for forging national unity and not to spread the poison of national divisions in the tender minds of the young.
Urge you to be also mindful of your position as UNESCO President and the need to set good international example.
Lim Kit Siang
Parliamentary Opposition Leader
I call on the MCA, Gerakan and MIC Ministers to take a serious views of the directive of the Federal Territory Education Department, and to bring up the issue at next Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting.
I would expect the MCA, Gerakan and MIC Ministers to be able to report to the people that the Federal Territory Education Department ruling had been rescinded latest by the Wednesday Cabinet meeting.