by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, June 16, 1994;
MCA Youth leaders have failed the Chinese community in not daring to raise the question of Federal Government regular financial allocations to Chinese Independent Secondary Schools in their meeting with the Prime Minister
The MCA Youth leaders have failed the Chinese community in not daring to raise the question of Federal Government regular financial allocations to Chinese Independent Secondary Schools in their meeting with the Prime Minister on Tuesday.
Surely, the MCA Youth leader and Deputy Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister, Datuk Chan Kong Choy, is aware that the Federal Government set a precedent in the Sabah state general elections in February this year, when it committed itself to give regular financial allocations to the nine Chinese Independent Secondary Schools in Sabah totalling RM5 million.
With this precedent established by the Federal Government, the MCA Youth had failed badly in not asking the Prime Minister for regular Federal Government financial allocations to all 37 Chinese Independent Secondary Schools in Peninsular Malaysia – not only for the next five years, but also for the past 37 years.
On the basis of the Sabah precedent of annual Federal Government allocation of RM100,000 for each Chinese Independent Secondary School, the MCA Youth should have asked for RM155 million for the 37 Chinese Independent Secondary Schools for the past 37 years and the next five years.
The MCA Youth delegation has also failed in their duty to the Chinese community when they dared not raise with the Prime Minister the revival of Chinese Independent Secondary Schools as in Segamat or the establishment of new Chinese Independent Secondary Schools as in Pahang or the expansion of Chinese Independent Secondary Schools, as applied by Foon Yue Chinese Independent Secondary School for a new branch school in Kulai.
What about government recognition for the Unified Examination Certificate of Chinese Independent Secondary Schools especially for entry into teacher-training colleges and as equivalent qualification for university education?
Six major questions about Chinese primary schools after the meeting of MCA Youth with the Prime Minister highlighting the difference between ‘minor and limited liberalisation’ of Barisan Nasional and ‘major, and full liberalisation’ advocated by DAP
Chan Kong Choy said that in the dialogue with the MCA Youth delegation, the Prime Minister agreed that he would discuss with the Education Minister on the construction of new Chinese primary schools.
This statement by Chan Kwong Choy raises six major questions about Chinese primary schools in the country today:
Firstly, if a categorical public undertaking by the then MCA President, Tan Koon Swan in 1986 general elections that the Prime Minister has agreed to the repeal of Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act by the end of 1986 could be violated for eight years, what is the credibility of a public statement by a MCA Youth leader, purporting to reflect the Prime Minister’s views. Is the Chinese community to wait for another eight years to ascertain whether the Prime Minister has given any such undertaking?
Secondly, in view of the lack of credibility of MCA and MCA Youth leaders when claiming to speak on behalf of the Prime Minister, Kong Choy’s claims have no authority or credibility whatsoever unless Dr.
Mahathir confirm these statements himself at the opening of the MCA General Assembly this weekend.
The MCA and MCA Youth leadership should ensure that Dr. Mahathir publicly confirm the undertakings he had made to the MCA Youth delegation two days ago.
Thirdly, Chan Kong Choy said that the MCA Youth delegation had raised with Dr. Mahathir the question of ‘ultimate objective’ of the National Education Policy, which when achieved, must mean the conversion of all Chinese primary schools into national primary schools. Did the MCA Youth formally request the Prime Minister to repeal the ‘ultimate objective’ of the National Education Policy to give firm guarantee for the preservation of the character and identity of Chinese primary schools.
Fourthly, did the MCA Youth delegation convey to the Prime Minister the widespread anxieties of the Chinese community that despite government assurances to maintain the status of Chinese primary schools, various ministry and administrative decisions and measures had already encroached and eroded the character and identity of Chinese primary schools – such as the acute shortage of trained teachers for Chinese primary schools which if remained unresolved would itself alter the character of Chinese primary schools, the appointment of principals not versed in Mandarin, the dimunition of status of Boards of Managements of Chinese primary schools and recently and most serious of all, the revival of the proposal for the establishment of ‘comprehensive primary schools’.
Fifthly, in having to raise with the Prime Minister the issue of the construction of new Chinese primary schools to meet increasing demand, isn’t the MCA Youth delegation admitting the ineffectiveness and impotence not only of the MCA Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Fong Chan Onn, but also of the four MCA Ministers in Cabinet all these years?
Sixthly, why didn’t the MCA Youth suggest to Dr. Mahathir that the Government should end the differential treatment between fully-assisted and partially-assisted Chinese primary schools, where the government would provide full funding for development as well as alienate land at nominal premium for the building of new partially-assisted Chinese primary schools or .new branch schools, like the proposed Kuo Kwang Chinese Primary School (2) in Johore Bahru?
In fact, these six major questions about the position and future of Chinese primary schools arising from the meeting of the MCA Youth delegation with the Prime Minister two days ago highlight the great difference between the ‘minor and limited liberalisations’ obtaining in the country today and the ‘major and full liberalisations’ which the DAP is advocating.
If the Prime Minister must personally intervene to deal with ‘wrong decisions of one or two local officials with narrow and -extremist mentality’, what is the use of having MCA Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and MPs?
Chan Kong Choy said that the MCA Youth delegation discussed with the Prime Minister the issue of adequate places of worship for non-Islamic religions as well as the issues of the Catholic Centre at Shah Alam and the Buddhist Centre in Johore.
It is most regrettable that the MCA Youth did not raise with the Prime Minister the specific issue of the restoration of Kuan Yin statue at Kek Lok Si in Penang to its original 121 ft in keeping with a more open and liberal policy.
Kong Choy said Dr. Mahathir advised the people not to mistake the “wrong decisions” of one or two local officials who have ‘narrow and extremist mentality as government policy.
In the seventies and eighties, Ministers blamed injustices of the New Economic Policy on the ‘deviations’ by ‘over-zealous government officials’.
Such excuses were unacceptable then, for the ‘over-zealous’ government officials could not be so powerful that Cabinet Ministers from MCA, Gerakan, MIC and other non-UMNO parties were powerless to rectify such ‘deviations’.
In the specific cases of Shah Alam Catholic Centre and the Johore Buddhist Centre, it is not one or two local officials with narrow and extremist mentality’ who were responsible for the stoppage of construction work – but directives coming from the very top of the State government who are also top UMNO national leaders.
If incidents like the stoppage of construction of Shah Alam Catholic Centre and Johore Buddhist Centre could take place, Malaysia cannot claim to be really open and liberali
If the Prime Minister must personally intervene to deal with the ‘wrong decisions of one or two local officials with narrow and extremist mentality’, then what is the use of having MCA Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and MPs?
When will MCA Ministers and Deputy Ministers have the power to rectify the ‘wrong decisions of one or two local officials with narrow and extremist mentality’ or will ‘local officials ‘ always have greater power than MCA Ministers and Deputy Ministers under the Barisan Nasional system of government?