Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Ceramah at Pantai Remis on Saturday, 12th May 1990 at 8p.m.
All DAP Mps will vote against the 1990 Education Bill if MPs and the public are not given adequate time to study and debate the various changes to the education system and law
Although MPs have been officially informed by Parliament that the Dewan Rakyat would meet from June 11 and 22, and the Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, said that the new 1990 education Bill would be tabled in next month’s Parliament for passage, the MPs have not received anything in writing with regard to the new changes to the education system and law.
The DAP must warn that this is a most undemocratic way of amending an important legislation concerning the education the education system which is to have so far-reaching effects on the future generation of Parliament.
This is because by refusing to give MPs and the public adequate time to study the changes to the new education system and law, the Barisan Nasional Government is in fact denying the democratic right of the people to have their views and aspirations fully considered and reflected in the new education system and law.
How can the Barisan Nasional government claim to be democratic, when it is so undemocratic in the manner of formulating and enacting the new 1990 Education Bill.
The new Education Bill will decide what type of Malaysian citizens we will have in twenty or thirty years time, whether the inequalities and injustices in OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM WILL CONTINUE TO DIVIDE AND POLARISE Malaysians, or whether the education system is going to be an instrument of national unity In the 1990s.
When I was in Taiping on Tuesday, one Malaysian complained that it has become so prohibitive to educate his children. He has two children, one in Australia and one in England, and it will cost him $1 million for them to complete their university education, one to become an engineer and the other a doctor.
How many Malaysians have half a million ringgit each to give every one of his children the best education he or she is entitled to? This is one of the gross educational inequalities and injustices of the present Barisan Nasional system.
Will the 1990 Education Act end such gross educational inequalities and injustices, and ensure that all Malaysians with the potential and ability can get the best and highest education in their own country.
This is why the people must have the fullest opportunity, say at least six months, to discuss the 1990 Education Bill so that they could express their hopes, wishes and needs about our education system. The 1990 Education Bill must be the product of the national consensus of all Malaysians, and not just the product of the Education Minister and the six-man Cabinet Committee.
DAP suggests that the Education minister should introduce two Education Bill when parliament meets next month.
The first Education Bill, to be known as the 1990 Education Act Amendment Bill should repeal Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act in the first meeting of the new Parliament. This election pledge cannot remain unfulfilled any longer. This Education Bill should be passed by Parliament next month.
The second Education Bill, to be known as the 1990 Education Bill, proposes an entire new education law, with all the various changes to pre-school system, primary, secondary, post-secondary and university education, private educational institutions, as well as the objective, content and quality of education. This Bill should be tabled for first reading, and the MPs and public given at least six months to study and discuss it. This Bill should be presented to Parliament for second and third reading after the six-month national debate and discussion on it.