Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Penang Jelutong DAP dinner held on Friday, April 30, 1993 at 8p.m.
DAP supports Mahathir’s call to make Malaysia the Centre for higher education in South East Asia
DAP supports the proposal by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, yesterday that Malaysia become the centre of higher learning for South East Asia.
Since the 1970s, the provision of adequate higher education opportunities for Malaysians had been a priority objective of the DAP, and if the DAP’s proposals had been heeded, Malaysia would have already become the centre of higher education in South East Asia by the early righties – and not now talking about wanting to become such a centre in the next decade.
As far back as the 1970s, I had proposed that the Government should have a higher education policy where there is at least one full university in each of the states in Malaysia, so that the great majority of Malaysian students could pursue tertiary education locally instead of abroad – which will also save the country billions of ringgit of foreign exchange every year.
The Barisan Nasional Government is about twenty years behind the DAP on this – and the country has lost 20 years to make Malaysia the centre for higher education in South East Asia.
Recently, an academician said that there are not enough graduates in Malaysia and that the country needs at least 18 more universities.
It is most shocking therefore that for this academic year, there is a fall rather than an increase in the total student intake for the local universities, reducing from last year’s 13,500 to 12,000!
Penang should be an important regional higher education centre and should aim to have at least five full universities by the year 2,000
The Government should adopt a liberal and progressive higher education policy if Malaysia is to become the centre for higher education in South East Asia, which must comprise the following elements:
Firstly, greatly expand higher education opportunities in Malaysia by building more universities, so that 80 to 90 per cent of Malaysian students pursing tertiary studies can do so locally.
It is ridiculous to talk about making Malaysia the centre of higher education for other South East Asian countries, when we cannot even provide adequate university places for the majority of own students.
Penang for instance should have an accelerated higher education development programme so that it could become a premier higher education centre in the region by having at least five full universities in the year 2,000.
I hope the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, would agree to adopt this objective as one of the targets for Penang in the Year 2,000.
Secondly, check the brain-drain from the universities where academicians and lectures are resigning in droves, both because of the poor conditions of service, as well as the unhealthy academic atmosphere caused by too much political interference by the government as a result of the Universities and University College Act.
DAP calls on Cabinet next Wednesday to formally accord recognition to Taiwan University degrees and qualifications
Thirdly, the government must have a clear-cut policy to reward merit and excellence. As a first step, the Government should not delay any further the recognition of the Taiwan university degrees and qualifications.
I had spoken on this issue in Parliament two days ago and had called on the Government to resolve this long-standing issue and to give full recognition and appreciation to the services and contributions to national development and progress made by the 30,000 Malaysians who had graduated from Taiwan universities.
Over four weeks had passed since the statement by the Chairman of the Federation of Malaysian Chinese Assembly Halls, Tan Sri Lim Geok Chan, that the Prime Minister and said that the Government would consider giving recognition to Taiwan university degrees and qualifications.
Had the Cabinet officially discussed this issue in the last four Cabinet meeting? What is shocking is that MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers seem to be both unaware and uninterested in getting the Government to accord recognition to Taiwan university degrees and qualifications.
One would have thought that after Lim Geok Chan’s statement four weeks ago, MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers would have taken the initiative to jointly request the Cabinet for such a recognition. It must be a great disappointment to the 30,000 Taiwan graduates in Malaysia that the MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers had missed such a golden opportunity to redress the injustice and indiscrimination they had suffered for over three decades.
The Cabinet should formally decide at its meeting next Wednesday to accord recognition to Taiwan university degrees and qualifications, and make the announcement in Parliament on the same day – the day the Minister will begin their replies to the current debate in the Dewan Rakyat on the Royal Address.
This recognition should be made retrospective so that all Taiwan university graduates who had served in government service for the relevant periods should be entitled to claim salary arrears.
If the Cabinet next Wednesday again fails to accord recognition to Taiwan university degrees and qualifications, and such an announcement is not made during the Ministerial replies in Parliament next Wednesday, then the DAP will consider moving an urgent motion in Parliament during the current meeting on the recognition of Taiwan university degrees and qualifications.
DAP calls for ACA investigation into irregularities in the award of the RM42 million Gantry Cranes for North Butterworth Container Terminal
The Anti-Corruption Agency should investigate into irregularities in the award of the RM42 million Gantry Cranes for the new RM 300 million North Butterworth Container Terminal.
In 1991, tender was called for three Gantry Cranes for the North Butterworth Container Terminal. The Penang Port Tender Board recommended acceptance of the bid for a German crane which met the tender specifications. However, this recommendation has been rejected by the Federal ‘higher-ups’ and decision has been made to award the tender to GEC of Australia which did not meet the specifications despite repeated appeals by the Penang Port Tender Board.
GEC of Australia has no proven track record as required by the specifications and I understand it has never been a crane manufacturer.
As the period of delivery is 20 months from award of contract, this will mean that when the North Butterworth Container Terminal is completed in June 1994, it would have no cranes to operate for at least six months.