Speech by Parliament Oppositions Leader, Dap Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Malacca State DAP forum on the new Education Bill 1990 held at the Meng Seng Charitable Association Hall on Thursday, 10th may 1990 at 9 p.m.
The open support for the repeal of Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act by Parti Semangat 46 has finally forced the Barisan Nasional Government to remove this provision
The Barisan National Government has broken its 1986 general elections promise to repeal Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act in the first meeting of the Parliament after the 1986 general elections, i.e. by the end of 1986.
For four years, the Barisan National Government has broken its general elections pledge. Now, Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba and the Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, say that Section 21(2) of the 1961 education Act would he repealed when the new Education Bill 1990 is presented to Parliament next month.
There is no doubt that one important reason why Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act is now finally being brought to Parliament is because of the open support given by Parti Semangat 46 for its repeal.
It is true that in Parti Semangat 46, there are leaders like Haji Suhaimi Kamaruddin, former UMNO Youth leader, and Fahmi Ibrahim, Selangor Assemblyman, who had previously, when in UMNO, articulated the views of many UMNO leaders who did not want ot see the continuation of Chinese primary schools and the preservation of Section 21(2).
At the time, the DAP leaders had made clear their opposition and condemnation of Suhaimi and Fahmi’s views, and even lodged police reports against them.
Today, however, they are in Parti Semangat 46, which has openly and publicly declared its support for the repeal of Section 21(2) of the Education Act 1961, and the rightful place of mother-tongue education in the mainstream of the national education system.
Clearly, the open support of Parti Semangat 46 for the repeal of Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act has finally forced the Barisan Nasional Government to remove this provision in the next Parliament. If not for the open support of Parti Semangat 46 for the repeal of Section 21(2), the Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, would probably be still dragging his feet until well after next general elections.
However, the Chinese educational bodies and Chinese community is rightly worried as to the status and future of Chinese primary schools, even with the repeal of Section 21(2) of the 1961Education Act, as there had been attempts in the past and will continue to be attempts in the future to change the character of Chinese primary schools through other legislative avenues as well as administrative actions.
The refusal of the Education Minister to reveal the full proposals of the Government on its new Education bill 1990 can only heighten these worries.
What we hear are the controlled and regulated news released by the Education Minister or his Deputy Minister. We hear, for instance, that the government will allow partially-aided Chinese primary schools to retain their Boards of Management, but would abolish Boards of Management of fully-aided Chinese primary schools.
Why should Boards of Managements be abolished for fully-aided Chinese primary schools?
We know that the MCA in act favours the abolition of Boards of management of all Chinese primary schools. For instance, a MCA newspaper wrote: “The Board of governors for schools should be put out of its misery because it is no longer in existence and it has also outlived its scrapped as far back as 1972 when the Aziz Report was implemented. Obviously they have been left alone because of some administrative quirks”
How can the new Education Bill 1990 place greater emphasis on moral and religious education when the Barisan Nasional Minister and leaders are setting a bad example?
The Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, has said that the new Education Bill 1990 will place greater emphasis on religious and moral education to help mould responsible and useful citizens.
The question that immediately comes to mind is how the new Education Bill 1990 could place greater emphasis on moral and religious education when the Barison Nasional Ministers and leaders are setting a bad example to the entire society.
We have one Minister who was called a cheat inside and outside Parliament, and whose suit for libel and defamation was dismissed by the Supreme Court two days ago.
We have another Minister who was publicly called “an inveterate, compulsive and incorrigible liar” in concocting and spreading the lies about the secret DAP-PAS talks in Jakarta, and who would not take a defamation suit to defend his own name, reputation and character.
We have a Deputy Speaker who was involved in a pornographic videotapes scandal.
Recently, the Sports Minister and UMNO Youth Leader, Datuk Najib Tun Razak, had become the spokesman of the Barisan Nasional government in attacking the Opposition. I would want, during the debate on the Education Bill 1990 in Parliament next month, Datuk Najib whether he, like the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Rahim Thamby Cik, regard themselves as the best example of a “educated, morally upright and balanced individual” to be emulated by the young generation of Malaysians?