By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, November 13, 1991
MCA national leadership has made one of its greatest concessions in its 42-year history with its new plicy announcement that the existence of Chinese primary schools has no Constitutional basis or guarantee
MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lee Kim Sai, said in Bukit Mertajam yesterday that “ensuring that the over a thousand Chinese primary schools can continue to use Chinese as a medium of instruction is not because of the Constitutional stipulation that each community could have free use and study of its language, but because of the provision of the Barisan Nasional government under the Education Act.”
This is indeed a bomb-shell for it is now clear that following the spirit of Barisan Nasional ‘consultations’, the MCA national leadership has made one of its greatest concessions in its 42-year history when the MCA Deputy President made this new policy announcement on behalf of the MCA that the existence of Chinese primary schools has no Constitutional basis or guarantee.
It is also now getting clearer what the Vision 2020 means to the MCA leadership. Under the spirit of Barisan Nasional ‘consultation’ toward Vision 2020, the MCA leadership are quietly conceding away fundamental rights of the people and in particular the Malaysian Chinese whom the MCA claims to represent.
Inside the Cabinet, MCA Ministers had agreed to the new Second Outline Perspective Plan figures inflating the Chinese corporate equity share from 32.5 per cent in June 1989 to 45 per cent in June 1991, although until early 1991 MCA leaders were publicly protesting against such statistics as being unfair and untrue.
Similarly, while MCA leaders made fierce statement in the Chinese press about opposing Islamisation, MCA Ministers and leaders were quitetly giving full support in Government and Cabinet to wide-ranging Islamisation policies of the Federal Government, whether in administration, education or the economy.
But now, with the new MCA policy pronouncement that the existence of Chinese primary schools has no constitutional basis or guarantee, the MCA leadership has made greatest concession in its entire 42-year history, which eclipses the long catalogue of concessions and compromises of the MCA on political, economic, educational, cultural and religious rights.
With one policy pronouncement, the MCA leadership is seeking to destroy what the DAP, with the support of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese community, had fought and sacrificed for 25 years!
DAP calls on the MCA president, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, and the entire MCA national leadership to explain what moral and political right do they have to make such and unprecedented concession on the constitutional rights of the Malaysian Chinese community with regard to the free use and study of the mother-tongue.
There are extremist UMNO leaders who hold the view that Chinese primary schools have no constitutional basis or guarantee, but no UMNO leader, whether at national or state level, had dared to publicly proclaim it.
It is shocking therefore that it should be the MCA tip leadership which should be the first to declare that the existence of Chinese primary schools has no constitutional basis, foundation or guarantee.
With the MCA national leadership publicly conceding that the existence of Chinese primary schools has no constitutional basis or guarantee, it will open the floodgates for extremist Malay chauvinists to demand that as the Malaysian Constitutional does not guarantee the preservation of Chinese primary schools, they should either be closed down or government support should be withdrawn!
DAP call on the entire MCA national leadership to apologise to the Chinese community for this unprecedented concession on the constitutional rights of the Malaysian Chinese – which if unchallenged, must lead to the rapid erosion and change in the character and identity of the Chinese primary schools in the country.
The CMA leadership’s new policy to make this concession is all the more shocking when it runs contrary to both the spirit and letter of Article 152 of the Malaysian Constitutional.
The MCA national leadership has chosen to disregard the 1971 case where Utusan Malaysia was found guilty of sedition for carrying a report with the headline calling for the abolition of Chinese and Tamil primary schools, on the ground that this ran afoul of one of the entrenched ‘sensitive; issue which could not be questioned.
This mean that the courts had ruled that to question the existence of Chinese and Tamil primary schools is to challenge an entrenched ‘sensitive’ issue.
The MCA national leadership has also chosen to disregard the case of the then Sabah Berjaya MP, Mark Koding who was charged and foung guilty of sedition for making a speech in Parliament calling for the closure of Chinese primary schools.
Both the Utusan Malaysia and the Mark Koding cases were decided on the gound that to call for the closure of Chinese primary schools was to challenge the constitutional right, basis and guarantee for the existence of Chinese primary schools – and therefore a sedition offence for questioning and entrenched sensitive issue.
Now, under the new MCA policy change and concession that Chinese primary schools have no constitutional basis or guarantee, nobody will be guilty of an offence of sedition for calling for the closure of Chinese primary schools – for they will not be challenging an entrenched and sensitive constitutional issue, but only a policy of the Barisan nasional Government.
I call on Liong Sik and the MCA national leadership to explain why it had made such an unprecedented concession which will have the most adverse and far-reaching consequences in the coming decades with regard to mother-tongue education and the future of Chinese primary schools in Malaysia and to explain whether this new MCA policy stand stripping Chinese primary schools of its constitutional basis or guarantee has the support of the MCA braches and ordinary membership?