by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 1.4.1993:
Is Mahathir’s statement on recognition of Taiwan degrees and qualifications a new government policy or a diplomatic language for its past and present stand?
The President of the Federation of Chinese Assembly Halls, Tan Sri Lim Geok Chan, has announced that the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, had told a Chinese Assembly Halls Federation delegation that the government was now considering the question of the recognition of Taiwan degrees and qualifications and to allow Malaysian students to further their studies in China.
If true, this is a most welcome announcement. The recognition of Taiwan degrees and qualifications, in particular, is, long-belated. It is most ironic and ridiculous that the Malaysian Government refused to accord recognition to the Taiwan degrees and qualifications when the educational attainments of Taiwan was one of the important reasons for Taiwan becoming Asian little dragon.
Tan Sri Lim Geok Chan said Dr. Mahathir had “felt that whether or not the Government recognises the degrees (Taiwan) was of secondary importance because the graduates have been doing well in their private sector”. This is completely unacceptable to the 30,000 Malaysian graduates from Taiwanese universities and the population at large, as it is such an attitude which caused deep alienation and disunity among the people in the country.
What is most surprising is that Barisan Nasional leaders, including Cabinet Ministers, seem to be very surprised by the announcement made by Tan Sri Lim Geok Chan on behalf of the Prime Minister.
Malaysians hope that Dr. Mahathir’s assurance to the Federation of Chinese Assembly Halls represents a new policy decision by the Government, and not just a ‘diplomatic language’ at the government’s past and present stand-that the authorities will continue to evaluate and assess the academic standards of the Taiwanese institutions of higher learning as the case of all other foreign countries.
Did the Cabinet yesterday followed up on the assurance given by Mahathir to recognize Taiwan university degrees and qualifications by taking concrete steps?
If Dr. Mahathir’s statement to the Federation of Chinese Assembly Halls represent a new government policy, then this must be reflected in government actions – and there is no reason for the Cabinet Ministers to behave as if they are hearing the news for the first time.
Cabinet Ministers should be able to confirm that the Government has decided to accord all-round recognition to Taiwan degrees and qualifications.
For a start, can the Cabinet Ministers, in particular MCA President, Datuk Ling Liong Sik and Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, confirmed that the Cabinet has adopted a new policy to accord all-round recognition to Taiwan degrees and qualifications.
Did the Cabinet at its meeting Yesterday followed up on the Minister’s assurance to the Federation of Chinese Assembly Halls recognition of Taiwan and qualifications by taking steps and actions – and if so, what are they? If the Cabinet had not done anything on this matter at its meeting yesterday, would it do so next week?
Although the Federation of Chinese omitted to raise the long-standing problem of Nantah degrees, it is only right and proper that all-round recognition of Taiwan degrees and qualifications should be accompanied by the all-round recognition of Nantah degrees.
The Government should not have any ‘security concerns’ about allowing Malaysian students to pursue higher studies in the universities in China, and calls on the Government to put China on the same footing as all other countries as far as destinations for higher studies for Malaysian students are concerned.