By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 20th October 1995:
Dr. Tan Seng Giaw heads a DAP Special Committee to study the four new education bills to be rammed through Parliament at the end of the year
It is most disgusting that MCA Ministers and Deputy Ministers could only make speeches and statements urging the Chinese community not to make “wild guesses” about the new Education Bill 1995, but they could do nothing to get the Government to immediately make public the contents or the new Education Bill for detailed public study and feedback.
On Tuesday, the MCA -Minister for Housing and Local Government., DatuK Dr. Ting Chew Peh gave a two-hour briefng to MCA parliamentary backbenchers on the new Education bill 1995, whict ended up with the MCA Secretary-General imposing a “gag’ on MCA MPS by cautioning them not to make statements which mignt “c:ause misunderstanding.between the government, and the Chinese community over the Bill”.
l do not know whether Dr. Ting is ref err ing to the statement by the GeraKan MP for Batu , Joseph Chong.but what. Malaysians are entitled to Know is why the people are still denied access to the full contents of the new Education Bill when the government has taken some 10 years to draft them:
MCA Ministers have still to declare their public stand whether they will ask Cabinet next Wednesday to immediately make public the new Education Bill and to extract, an assurance that there would be adequate time of at least two full months before the ball is presented to Parliament for debate and adoption.
The Government seems to be involved in a sort of “hide-and-seek” with the people of Malaysia on the new Education Bill -sometimes it appears about to be made public, and then it reced.es into the distant. background for several months, and then sudden¬ly, the people are told that there would not be one new Education Bill 1995, but four alt.oget.her involving education, namely:
*the new Education Bill 1995;
*the new National Higher Education Council Bill;
*the new Private Institutions of Higher Education Bill; and
*amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971
DAP calls on the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to give two categorical assurances, firstly, that Malaysians would be given adequate time of at Least two months to study, discuss and give feedback of their reactions to the tour education bills; and secondly, that at. least two days would be allocated in Parliament, to debate each education bill or a total of eight days of Parliamentary debate for the four education bills which are to have far-reaching consequences to the future of Malaysia.
The DAP is particularly concerned about four areas in the educational future of Malaysia:
*How Malaysia is to become a Centre of Educational Excellence especially in higher education recognised and respected internationally – not only by the developing countries but also by the developed world;
*How Malaysia could be a leader in making use of the information technology revolution and the information Superhighway in the field of education at all level, whether tertiary, secondly or primary as well as in developing the field of long-distance education;
*Corporatisation of the local universities as to whether this will make higher ducation beyong the reach of the poor and those from the low-income groups;
*The position and future of mother-tongue education, especially as Dong Jiao Zong ,whjch had also been brieferd bv the MCA Ministers, had warned that. the new education Bill 1995 is no difierent from the draft education bill 1990, and that there are at. least live, areas where the position or Chinese education would be threatened by the new Education Bill 1995, These concern the “concrete realisation.” of the “ultimate objective” of the national education policy; the rate of half the boards of management, of Chinese schools who face dissolution; the fate, of the Chinese Independent .Secondary Schools’ Uniform Examination inability of the Chinese independent.
Chinese Secondary schools to have “twinning” programmes and the obstacles to the establishment of higher education institutions Like the New Era College.
DAP has set up a Special Committee to study the four pleces of new legislation concerning education and this Special Committee , headed by DAP National VJce Chairman and DAP MP for Kepong, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, will arrange for discussions with all educational or other organisations and Malaysians concerned about the new changes in the new educational laws.