By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Monday, 18th June 1990:
MCA and Gerakan Ministers have won a victory in deferring the Education Bill 1990 until after the next general elections to protect their election chances
From the numerous statements made by MCA leaders, it is clear that the MCA and Gerakan ministers have won a victory in deferring the Education Bill 1990 until after the next general elections to protect their election chances.
The MCA Deputy Education Minister, Woon See Chin, has come out openly to state that the Education Bill 1990 will not be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat after all, not even for first reading.
It is clear that the MCA and Gerakan are in full agreement that the Education Bill 1990 should be deferred until after the next general elections, as it would adversely affect the chances of MAC and Gerakan in the next general elections.
MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lee Kin Sai, said that provisions inimical to Chinese education and Chinese primary schools would be removed under the Education Bill 1990. if this is the case, why is the MCA and Gerakan so opposed to the immediate publication of the draft Education Bill 1990?
MCA Secretary-General, Ng Cheng Kiat, said that the Cabinet Committee on the Education Bill 1990 has agreed that there will be no more Section 21(2) and that the Boards of Management of the ‘fully-aided’ and ‘partially-aided’ Chinese primary schools would be allowed to be retained.
But what has Ng Cheng Kiat got to say about the closed-door briefing given by the Education Minister, Anwar IBrahim, to headmasters and teachers that although Section 21(2) will be repealed, the powers of the Education Minister would not be reduced, and that the Registrar-General of Schools would now have the power to close schools on the ground that they are ‘against the national interest’.
Furthermore, is Ng Cheng Kiat prepared to declare that Section 26A of the Education Act 1961 on the abolition of Boards of Management of Chinese primary schools would be re[pealed under the Education Bill 1990?
The MCA and Gerakan Ministers on the Cabinet Committee on Education are playing games. When it suits them, they will bring out the Official Secrets Act and refuse to breathe a single word, claiming that only Anwar Ibrahim could talk about the Education Bill 1990. yet on other occasions, they would forget about the Official Secrets Act and let drop tidbits of the provisions of the Education Bill, which do not give the full and correct picture of what is in the new education law.
The people can still remember the recent occasions when MCA and Gerakan leaders blamed each other for talking too much about the Education Bill 1990. it started with the Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, publicly castigating the MCA Deputy Education Minister, Woon See Chin, for talking about the Bill. Later on, Ng Cheng Kiat hinted that Keng Yaik should not have revealed discussions in the Cabinet Committee. But now, Cheng Kiat is himself revealing tidbits of information, which may only be half-true, about the Education Bill.
The MCA and Gerakan Ministers and leader should stop playing political games with the Education Bill, and ask the Cabinet to present it to the Dewan Rakyat this week.