by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung , Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, March 3, 1992:
DAP calls on the Education Ministry to build new Chinese primary schools completely at government expense under the Sixth Malaysia Plan.
Recently, the MCA Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Pong Chan Onn, has said that the Government now recognises the importance, role and contribution of Chinese primary schools to the national education system as well as to national development.
He even praised the Chinese primary school ‘culture’ – where parents, the Chinese community and the Boards of Management co¬operate in their concern for the educational welfare of the students as something which has attracted the admiration of the other communities, and this is why there are some 20,000 Malay and Indian pupils studying in the Chinese primary schools in the country.
Dr. Fong even said that the Chinese education and Chinese primary schools is no more a ‘sensitive’ issue.
These are welcome statements, but until Education Ministry officials and in particular, UMNO Ministers and leaders endorse the sentiments of Dr. Fong Chan Onn, there will always be doubt as to whether what
Dr. Fong says represents his own views only, or he speaks for the Education Ministry and the Barisan Nasional government as well.
If what Dr. Fong claims is true, that the Barisan Nasional government has belatedly come around to recognise the importance, role and contribution of Chinese primary schools and Chinese education in Malaysia, then the Barisan Nasional Government must demonstrate this new attitude in a new policy and attitude with regard to Chinese primary schools and Chinese education in Malaysia.
For a start, the Barisan Nasional Government must be pre¬pared to assume responsibility to build new Chinese primary schools completely at government expense under the Sixth Malaysia Plan.
I was in Johore Bahru on Saturday, and I found to my shock that there is a great shortage of Chinese primary schools in the various fast-growing residential areas in Johore Bahru.
In Taman Ungku Tun Aminah, for instance, which has about 60,000 people, the Education Ministry has long ignored the needs of the residents for adequate Chinese primary school places for their children.
There is at present only a Kuo Kuang Chinese Primary School catering to the needs of the people in Taman Ungku Tun Aminah and surrounding areas, Kua Kuang Chinese Primary School started as a ‘Lee Rubber’ factory primary school and its student population has exploded from about 400 pupils in 1978 to 4,200 pupils today, making it proba¬bly the biggest Chinese primary school in the country.
Every year, its primary one enrolment is in the 900 region, and could be more if not for the limitation of classrooms. Although the Information Minister, Datuk Mohamed Rahmat, recently announced that the government has approved the establishment of another Kuo Kuang ‘branch’ school, the Taman Ungku Tun Aminah and surrounding areas need at least four Chinese primary schools to cater to the needs of the pupils and parents, and not just one Chinese primary school and a ‘branch’ school.
The Education Ministry should plan to have a standard size primary school which is most ideal to
meet the educational needs of the pupils – one which should have about 1,000 students and not over
4000 students as in Kuo Kuang SRJK (C).
There is no firm news as to the progress of the building of the new school premises of Pei Hwa
Chinese primary school in Tampoi, although there had been two earth-moving ceremonies in two previous by-elections in Johore Bahru before the 1990 general elections.
The people of Johore Bahru are wondering whether there must be another by-election in Johore Bahru before there could be more progress in the development of a new school grounds for Pei Hwa SRJK (C).
This does not give confidence to the people that the Bari¬san Nasional government has finally recognised the importance, role and contribution of Chinese primary schools in the country.
It should be noted that the application for a new school premises for Pei Hwa Chinese primary school in Tampoi was made as far back as 1970. This is in fact a sad reflection of the MCA and Barisan Nasional’s attitude to Chinese primary schools and Chinese education.
DAP calls on Fong Chan Onn to get the government to build the two government Chinese primary school at Taman Johore Jaya in Johore Bahru.
But most shocking of all is that there is not a single Chinese primary school in Taman, Johore Jaya in Johore Bahru, which will, become the biggest housing area in Johore Bahru when its 16,000 units are fully occupied in two years’ time, ranging from 80,000 to 100,000 people.
At present, its population is already as big as Taman Ungku Tun Aminah.
It is most shocking that, the Education Ministry has failed completely to plan for the present and future educational needs of students in so big a residential area as Taman Johore Jaya. There is no plan whatsoever for a single Chinese primary school, when there should be at least four Chinese primary schools in Taman Johore Jaya.
DAP calls on the MCA Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Fong Chan Onn, to take immediate action to ensure that the Education Minis¬try will build two Chinese primary school completely at government expense in Taman Johore Jaya area in Johore Bahru, as the first of a series of Chinese primary schools which the Government will build at its own expense under the Sixth Malaysia Plan in other parts of the country.
If the Governmeent is not prepared to build Chinese primary schools at Taman Johore Jaya, then
Dr. Fong Chan Onn will have to give good reasons in the April meeting of Parliament.