By Parliament Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary –General and MP for Tanjung , Lim Kit Siang , in Petaling Jaya on Thursday , 6th January 1994;
Fong Chan Onn should stop playing with statistic and be serious to explain the contradictions in the higher education target given by Dr.Mahathir and Dr. Sulaiman Daud
The deputy Education Minister, Dr. Fong Chan Onn, today repeated the statement of the Education Minister , Datuk Dr. Sulaiman Daud that by the year 2000, 30 percent of the population between the ages of 19 to 24 would receive tertiary education.
When the Education Minister made this announcement two days ago, I had asked for clarification on his contradiction with the Prime Minister , Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who had announced when tabling the Mid-Term Review of Sixth Malaysia Plan in Parliament on December 16 that the government was aiming for enrolment at the tertiary level to reach 20 percent of the 19-24 year age group by 2020 , compared with only 7.3 percent in 1990.
The difference of reaching the 20 percent higher education target in 2020 and reaching the 20 percent target by the year 2,000 is a very colossal one .
Dr. Fong Choo Onn has not be able to explain this contradiction between Dr. Mahathir’s announcement of achieving 20 percent of the 19-24 year age group for tertiary education by 2020 and Dr. Sulaiman Daud ‘s announcement of 30 percent by year which reads”
“ 8.57 The nation ‘s development as envisaged in vision 2020 will create increasing demand for manpower at the diploma and degree levels. In view of this, the enrolment of higher education will be increased to reach 20 percent of the 19-24 age cohort by the year 2020 compared with only 7.3 percent in 1990. There will also be a greater role for the private sector in the provision of higher education.”
If Government Ministers and Deputy Ministers can manipulate figures and statistics whnever it suits their needs, then the credibility of official data and statistics would be placed under doubt and question henceforth , not only on educational but on economic and financial matters as well.
Malaysian cannot join the ranks of the fully developed nations by just altering with the stroke of the pen to change the figures of 20 percent in the year 2020 to 30 percent in the year 2,000.
I would advise Dr Fong Chan Onn not to play with statistics , but be serious and explain the contradiction in the targets as announced by the Prime Minister and the Sixth Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Review one the one hand and the Education Minister and Deputy Education Minister on the other.