by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Monday, October 7, 1991:
It is most disgraceful and dishonourable that the MCA leadership dare not tell Dr. Mahathir in Cabinet and Government the reasons why non-Chinese students do not want to study in TAR, but dare only do so in Chinese newspapers
It is most disgraceful and dishonourable that the top MCA leadership dare not tell the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, in Cabinet and Government the reasons why non-Chinese students do not want to study in Tunku Abdul Rahman College (TAR), but dare only do so in the Chinese newspapers.
This is the latest example of the politics of parasitism of the MCA and its leadership!
The Prime Minister, at the convocation of the TAR on Saturday, said that the TAR should review its philosophy of exclusivity and open its door to non-Chinese students.
The immediate comment of the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, to Dr. Mahathir’s speech when asked by reporters at the convocation was to endorse Dr. Mahathir’s call with the statement “Nowadays, students from all communities are already studying together, acquiring the same things in the secondary schools with opportunities to mix with one another. I have therefore no wish to see TAR College as an exception to this normal practice.
Liong Sik also said that the TAR management would write officially to the Education Ministry next year for allocation to enable students from all communities to study in TAR
Had Tunku Abdul Rahman College gone against national interests in keeping itself exclusively for one race in the past 20 years?
Liong Sik’s comment received very adverse public reaction for it tantamount to a confession that the MCA and TAR had been remiss and irresponsible in going against the national aspirations of the country to build a Malaysian nation in deliberately keeping out the other races from TAR and keeping its enrolment exclusively for the Chinese only for the past 20 years.
It would appear as if TAR had been caught ‘red-handed’ by the Prime Minister in going against national interests in keeping itself exclusively for one race in the past 20 years and the Prime Minister was publicly berating the MCA at the convocation.
The question is whether Tunku Abdul Rahman College had gone against national interests in the last two decades by keeping itself exclusively for the Chinese students only, to the exclusion of other races.
Liong Sik appeared to have pleaded guilty to the Prime Minister’s charge, and this was why his immediate reaction was to promise that the MCA would not commit such transgressions in future!
Public reactions had been very adverse to Liong Sik’s reaction to Dr. Mahathir’s speech because MCA had stated previously that the TAR had opened its doors to Malay students, and had even appealed to the Education Ministry for help, but was unable attract Malay students.
If this is the case, why then did Liong Sik plead guilty to Dr. Mahathir’s charge that TAR had kept its doors closed exclusively for one race?
The MCA Youth leader, Datuk Chan Kong Choy, seems to be bolder than the MCA President, for he issued a statement one day later that the government must give full recognition to the courses offered by TAR, for this is the basic cause why non-Chinese students do not want to study in TAR.
Chan Kong Choy’s statement is strictly for Chinese newspapers and was not published even in the MCA’s English daily, Star
Kong Choy also gave other reasons why TAR could not attract non-Chinese students, vize: the non-recognition of its diplomas which means that TAR graduates cannot jon the public service; TAR students have to be self-paying; bumiputra students have too many other options for higher studies and TAR having a history of controversy.
But what is shocking is that Chan Kong Choy’s statement appears to be issued exclusively for the Chinese community – and in order to erase the adverse reaction to Liong Sik’s comments to Dr. Mahathir’s speech – rather than to inform Dr. Mahathir as to the steps the government should take to make TAR attractive to non-Chinese students.
Chan Kong Choy’s statement was not given to non-Chinese newspapers, and even the MCA’s own English-language newspaper, Star, did not carry this statement!
It is very sad to see the MCA leaders continuing to play a double-game on important issues affecting future generations – even concerning the TAR.
There is no point of Chan Kong Choy issuing such statements exclusively for the consumption of the Chinese community, if the MCA national leaders dare not tell them to Dr. Mahathir and the UMNO leaders.
In fact, if the MCA national leaders had been responsible political leaders, they would have ensured that Dr. Mahathir would have known about the reasons why TAR had not been able to attract non-Chinese students, and Dr. Mahathir would not have made such a speech at the TAR convocation last Saturday.
That Dr. Mahathir made such a call in his speech is a reflection of the total failure and impotence of the four MCA Ministers and the MCA Deputy education Minister, Dr. Fong Chan Onn.
Are the four MCA Ministers prepared to give a public commitment that at the next Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, they will officially and formally table a paper in the Cabinet to let Dr. Mahathir and all UMNO Ministers understand that the reason why the TAR had so few non-Chinese students is not because of a philosophy or policy of racial exclusivity, but because of the unfair treatment by the Barisan Nasional government, spelling out the four reasons given by Chan Kong Choy in the Chinese newspapers today?
Dare the four MCA Ministers table a Cabinet paper next Wednesday asking for full government recognition of TAR diplomas and courses to attract Malay students to TAR? What has Fong Chan Onn done on this issue?
In the 1990s, the MCA leaders must break away from their philosophy of political parasitism and be prepared to tell the Prime Minister and say in the Cabinet what they say in the Chinese newspapers for the consumption of the Chinese community.