by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Friday, April 20, 1990:
DAP to move a motion of no confidence on Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, and the entire Cabinet if Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act is not repealed in the June meeting of parliament
Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba, announced yesterday that a Cabinet Committee has been set up to study and reach consensus on the final draft of amendments to the Education Act 1961.
The Cabinet Committee is headed by Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, and comprise Ministers from other Barisan Nasional component parties, namely MIC President, Datuk Samy Vellu, MCA Secretary-General, Datuk Ng Cheng Keat, Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and SUPP Chairman, Datuk Amar Stephen Yong.
Ghafar said no time frame had been set for the Cabinet Committee to complete its task. However, he expected the committee to report back to the Cabinet in two weeks “as the Government was pressed for time”.
He said the Cabinet would decide on the final draft and hoped to table the amendments during the June meeting of Parliament.
The setting up of the Cabinet Committee on the amendments to the Education Act has come as a surprise, especially as both the Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, and the Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Wong See Chin, had repeatedly said that the draft on the amendments to the Education Act had been circulated to the leaders of the Barisan Nasional component parties and that the Education Minister had met and discussed the draft on amendments to the Education Act with the leaders of the Barisan Nasional component parties.
As all the top leaders of the Barisan Nasional component parties are in the Cabinet, and had been fully consulted by the Education Act, why is it necessary to duplicate such consultation by setting up a Cabinet Committee which will comprise the very same people again?
Ghafar Baba assured yesterday that under the proposed amendments, the character of the Chinese and Tamil primary schools would be maintained.
The Deputy Prime Minister said: “Chinese and Tamil education is guaranteed. Even if the Act is amended many times over, both will be maintained as long as the Barisan Nasional remains in power.”
If this is the case, then the people must be even more mystified why it is necessary at this late stage to establish a Cabinet Committee on the amendments to the Education Act?
Ghafar Baba said the Cabinet formed the Cabinet Committee comprising top UMNO, MIC, MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers because some of the proposed amendments to the Education Act?
What can these amendments which “may be sensitive” be, if the Barisan Nasional Government is guaranteeing the preservation of Chinese and Tamil primary schools?
In the 1986 general elections, the Barisan Nasional gave a solemn promise that Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act, which empowers the Education Minister to convert Chinese and Tamil primary schools into national primary schools any time he deems fit, would be repealed in the first meeting of the new Parliament, i.e. by end of 1986.
This election pledge has been dishonoured through ten Parliamentary meeting held since the 1986 general election.
The formation of the Cabinet Committee seems to be the latest in the long-delaying tactics of the Barisan Nasional Government to honour its 1986 general elections pledge to repeal Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act.
DAP is hereby giving notice that it will move a motion of no confident on the Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, as well as on the entire Cabinet if Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act is repealed in the June meeting of Parliament.
Dr. Lim Chong Eu is gathering support from UMNO leaders against Gerakan leaders who wanted to oust him as Chief Minister or reduce him to a figure-head
The Gerakan power-struggle revolving around the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Lim Chong Eu, is getting curioser and curioser. The whole-hearted support for Chong Eu ro remain as Penang chief Minister has come from outside the Gerakan, while inside the Gerakan, suggestions continue to be made through diverse manners that Chong Eu should step down as Chief Minister or be a mere figurehead.
Today, Penang UMNO Chief, Anwar Ibrahim, has come out in full support of Chong Eu as Penang chief Minister.
Dr. Lim Chong Eu is amply rewarded for his foresight in cultivating powerful UMNO support in the showdown with Gerakan leaders, which was why Chong Eu went out-of-state for the first time in ten years to campaign for UMNO in the recent Pantai Merdeka by-election in Kedah.
He was immediately rewarded when the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, declaredhis continued support for Chong Eu as Penang Chief Minister in a Chinese press interview.
In reciprocation and to thank Dr. Mahathir for this support, Chong Eu broke his silence on national issues and launched an attack on Tunku Abdul Rahman for ‘talking too much’.
Now Anwar Ibrahim has further solidified Chong Eu’s position as Penang Chief Minister.
In contrast, the Gerakan leaders, including Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Taik, are very lukewarm in their attitude to Chong Eu’s continued political leadership role in Penang.
But Chong Eu seemed to have won the upperhand, and is telling Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and the Gerakan leaders, whether at national or Penang State level, that so long as the top UMNO leaders back him, there is little the Gerakan officials can do to shake his position as Penang Chief Minister.