By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, June 8, 1990:
Anwar Ibrahim’s statement today contradicts Keng Yaik’s claim that the Cabinet Committee has decided that the Boards of Management of Chinese primary schools would be preserved.
The statement by the Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim (New Straits Times 8/6/90 p.2) contradicts the claim by the Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, on Tuesday that the Cabinet Committee on the Education Bill had agreed to preserve the Boards of Management of Chinese primary schools and which was given front page headline treatment by all Chinese newspapers.
Anwar Ibrahim said yesterday hat discussions on certain issues in the Education Bill 1990, including whether to maintain of abolish the Boards of Management of the 432 ‘fully-aided’ Chinese primary schools, “are still going on”.
Anwar said: “Certain quarters want the management boards retained, citing the vital role played by them in lobbying for financial assistance from the Ministry.
“They fear that abolition of these boards will hamper the physical development of the schools. It is taking a long time because we want it to be resolved amicably.”
How then can Keng Yaik claim that the Cabinet Committee on the Education Bill had decided to maintain the Boards of Management of Chinese primary schools, when Anwar Ibrahim said yesterday that discussions on this issue was still going on?
This is in fact a case where Keng Yaik is virtually called a liar in public by the Education Minister.
Was Keng Yaik trying to present himself as a hero for the Gerakan National General Assembly being held tomorrow, regardless of the truth or the matter. This is a most irresponsible political leadership.
MPs will get at most seven days to study the Education Bill 1990
Anwar said two days ago that the Cabinet Committee on Education Bill would met again for the eighth time on Monday. He said yesterday that it was still not too late for the Cabinet Committee to finish discussions and table the Bill at the June Parliament, which is to begin meeting on Monday on June 11.
If Anwar intends in present the Education Bill 1990in the current meeting in Parliament, this will mean that Members of Parliament, educational organizations and concerned Malaysians would be given at most seven days before the Bill is passed in Parliament to become law.
This is because assuming that the Cabinet Committee on the Education Bill decides on Monday to reach full accord on the provisions of the Bill, it would be presented to the Cabinet only at its weekly Wednesday meeting on June 13.
After Cabinet approval on June 13, it would have to be sent to the Government Printers, and the Bill would only be ready for tabling in Parliament on June 14 or 15.
The last day for the two-week June meeting of Parliament is June 22. This means that MPs, educational bodies and concerned Malaysians would have only seven days to study a Bill which the Barisan Nasional parties took five years to conceive and formulate.
This is most undemocratic and most be deplored by all Malaysians who wants a meaningful democratic process and way of life.
I note that the Deputy Education Minister, Woon See Chin, is talking about the possibility of making public the Education Bill in July for the October meeting of Parliament.
I must ask Woon See Chin whether the October meeting of Dewan Rakyat is a meeting of the present Parliament, or the first meeting of the new Parliament to be elected in a new general elections. In other words, when Woon See Chin talks about presenting the Bill in the October Parliament, he is talking about presenting the Bill after the next general elections.
This is unacceptable, for the Barisan Nasional Government would have violated its 1986 general elections pledge to repeal Section 21(2) of the Education Act 1961. Furthermore, the people have the right to know the full contents of the Education Bill 1990 before the next general elections.