Press Conference Statement (3) by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and mp for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Wednesday, 25th April 1990 at 11 a.m.
Anwar Ibrahim has become so ‘politicised’ that he is losing all sense of fairness
I am surprised by the outburst of the Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, after chairing the first meeting of the six-man Cabinet Committee on the Education Act Amendments yesterday.
Anwar Ibrahim seems to have become so ‘politicised’ recently, that he is losing all sense of fairness and proportion.
He hit out against the DAP for not having submitted any memorandum to the government on the amendments to the Education Act. He said that the draft of recommendations on amendments to the Education Act was given to the Barisan Nasional component parties last November, and the MCA and Gerakan had submitted comprehensive memorandum.
But the DAP never received a copy of this draft recommendation on amendments to the Education Act, although we repeatedly asked for it, both inside and outside Parliament. Anwar Ibrahim has refused to make public this draft recommendation on the ground that it is ‘official secrets’!
Last month in Parliament, when I raised this matter, Anwar Ibrahim promised that the public and opposition parties would be given ample time to study the government’s proposals and to give their views.
Now Anwar Ibrahim has turned around, accusing the DAP of lack of interest in educational issues and not sending any memorandum to the government.
Let me tell Anwar Ibrahim: Give the DAP a copy of the draft government proposals on the new Education Bill, and the DAP will send him a memorandum on the DAP views and proposals within a month.
From Anwar’s statement, it is clear that he is going again to break his promise made in Parliament last month that the public and opposition parties would be given ample time to study the government’s proposals on the new Education Bill, before they are rammed through Parliament with Barisan Nasional two-thirds majority.
Dewan Rakyat is scheduled to meet from June 11 to 22. The Cabinet Committee is unlikely to present its report to the Cabinet until the end of May. The Cabinet has then to meet and take a final decision on the new Education Act proposals.
This means that the Bill on the Education Act proposals may not be tabled until after Parliament has met, and that MPs and the public would have no more than a week or two to study them – when what is needed is six months to a year for a full public debate and discussion.
This is a most undemocratic and unacceptable manner to draft new proposals for the Education Act, which is going to affect the education of future generations, and must be deplored by all Malaysians.
Anwar’s outburst against the Election Watch and its six members is also highly perplexing. What has the Election Watch got to do with the Cabinet Committee on Education Act proposals? Why should Anwar him out at the Election Watch after chairing the Cabinet Committee meeting on Education Act proposals?
There can only be one explanation. During the Cabinet Committee meeting, the six Cabinet members spent most of their time discussing about prospects for the Barisan Nasional parties in the next general elections rather than the amendments to the Education Act. This is why after the meeting, the Election Watch issue was to prominent in Anwar’s thinking, that he had to talk about it.