Press Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on 13 November 1994:
As Cabinet Minister, Keng Yaik should not make statements to catch newspaper headlines when they are not part of government policy
As Cabinet Minister, Minister for Primary Industries Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik should not make statements and speeches just for the fun of it and to catch newspaper headlines when they are not part of government policy.
Keng Yaik succeeded in catching the front page headline today when he called on Dong Jiao Jong to keep in line with developments in South-East Asia and turn our country into a regional centre for Chinese education, and in the process widen the role of Chinese education to assist national and reginal development.
I should be the first to welcome Keng Yeik’s announcement as a few months ago I had publicly called for the”Full liberalization” of the national educational policy and the transformation of Malaysia into a centre for Chinese education in South-East Asia.
Such a Ministerial statement undoubtedly deserves Page One headline treatment if it reflects Barisan Nasional Government policy.
However, Keng Yaik will be guilty of misleading the people by the making completely baseless claims that the Government will permit the unfetterd development of Chinese education in Malaysia to become a regional centre of Chinese educational study when his statement does not represent government policy.
It is ridiculous for a veteran Cabinet Minister like Keng Yaik to call on Dong Jiao Jong to expand Chinese education in Malaysia to turn the country into a regional centre for Chinese education when during all these years, it is the Barisan Nasional Government policy to discourage, hamper and fetter the development of Chinese education in the country.
This was why Dong Jiao Jong’s latest application for the New Era College which would use various languages including Chinese as medium of instruction has been shelved on the ground that present laws and policies would not allow its establishment.
Furthermore applications which have been made by the Chinese community since Merdeka to revive or establish new Chinese Independent Secondary Schools have been rejected by the Government, for example the Segamat Chinese Independent secondary School and the Kajang Yihua Chinese Independent Secondary School and the Foonyew Chinese Secondary School branch in Kulai.
There had also been minimal establishment of new Chinese Primary Schools in the country to meet the needs of the pupils resulting in the Kuo Kuang Chinese Primary School in Taman Ungku Tun Aminah in Johore bahru becoming the biggest primary school not only in Malaysia but also in the South-East Asia with some five thousand pupils.
Thus long sad history of Chinese education in Malaysia is all because of the “ultimate objective” of the Barisan Nasional Government which not only would not permit the establishment of the Merdeka University or the New Era College, but when fully implemented will also involve the closure of the 60 Chinese Independent Secondary Schools and over 1,200 Chinese Primary Schools.
This is also the reason why for the last three decades, the DAP had been fighting for the repeal of the “ultimate objective” of the National Education Policy and the amendment of the University and University Colleges Act to permit the establishment of private universities, including the proposed Merdeka University.
Very soon, ten years would have passed since the Barisan Nasional Government started talking about amending the National Education Act and up to now, members of Parliament have not seen any drafts to the proposed new Education Act or the Private University Act although promise had been made publicly that both these important bills will be presented in the current meeting of Parliament.
Call on Gerakan to endorse DAP National Charter on Mother-Tongue Education to prove Keng Yaik’s sincerity
After his statement yesterday, Keng Yaik is duty-bound to demonstrate that he was not making the announcement calling on Dong Jiao Jong to turn Malaysia into the regional centre of Chinese Education just for the fun and it and to catch newspaper headlines, but represent new Barisan Nasional policy.
For s start, Keng Yaik should ensure that party Gerkan endorse the national Charter for Mother-Tongue Education which was released by the DAP as one of its ‘Nation-Building Policies for Full Liberalisation’ during the ten-night DAP tanjong 3 Marathon Thousand People Dinners in Penang last month. The Gerakan should accept the National Charter for Mother Tongue Education not only as a basis for Gerakan’s policy but also ask the Barisan Nasional Government to adopt it as its National Policy.
As Keng Yaik is not the education minister or deputy education minister, he should ensure that his statement gets official endorsement from the Cabinet and ask the prime minister Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed to give his stamp of approval that Dong Jiao Jong will has been given the ‘green light’ to turn Malaysia into a regional centre fot Chinese education, from primary to secondary and tertiary levels.
The MCA Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Fong Chan Onn and the MCA President Datuk Seri Dr. ling Liong Sik have “slipped” badly in not calling Dong Jiao Jong to develop Malaysia into a regional centre of Chinese education.
I do not know whether this is because the MCA leaders and Ministers are opposed to this development or whether they are unaware of new developments in Barisan Nasional Government policies.
MCA ministers should join with Gerakan to support four-point “Full Liberalisation” of barisan Government policy on Chinese education
Be that as it may, all MCA Ministers and Deputy Ministers should close ranks with their Gerakan counterparts in the cabinet, government and parliament to ensure that there is genuine ‘Full Liberalisation’ of the Government Chinese Education Policy by presenting in the current meeting of Parliament a new Education Bill and Private University Bill with the following provisions:
1. repeal of “ultimate objective” of the National Education Policy;
2. full government acceptance of financial responsibility for the development of all Chinese primary schools whether fuuly or partially aided and the building of new Chinese primary schools at full government expence;
3. Government regular annual financial allocations to Chinese Independent Secondary Schools and Government recognition of the Unified Examination Certificate of Chinese Independent Secondary Schools; and
4. allowing the establishment of new ear college and the proposed Merdeka University.