George Chan should stop playing games about the second Bintulu Chung Hua School and be honest and responsible enough to state categorically whether the Education Minister had approved its establishment and to produce such evidence in "black-and-white"


Media Conference Statement (2)
- Kidurong by-election
by Lim Kit Siang

(Bintulu, Thursday): SUPP Chairman and Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Dr. George Chan should stop playing games about the second Bintulu Chung Hua School and be honest and responsible enough to state categorically whether the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, had approved its establishment and to produce such evidence in "black-and-white".

I am not impressed when George Chan issued me a challenge where he and other SUPP leaders would resign if they "cheated" the voters of Kidurong if they could not "deliver" the second Bintulu Chung Hua School and that I should resign if they could "deliver" the second Bintulu Chung Hua School.

In the first place, I had not made any allegation that George Chan had "cheated" the people of Bintulu on the issue. What I had said on this matter is very clear.

I said that based on George Chan’s announcement that the Sarawak State Government had approved the second Bintulu Chung Hua School, I pointed out that the Sarawak State Government had no such powers under the constitutional separation of powers between the Federal and the state governments to approve the establishment of any school. All that the Sarawak state government could do is to approve a piece of land for school purpose, but this does not amount to the establishment of the school.

This was why I said that if George Chan claims that approval had been given for the establishment of the second Bintulu Chung Hua School, it could only mean that approval had been given by the Federal Cabinet and the Minister for Education, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

I said that if George Chan could not produce evidence to prove that the Education Minister had given his approval for the establishment of the second Chung Hua School, then he was misleading the voters of Kidurong when he gave the impression that there was such approval.

The issue therefore is not whether George Chan could "deliver" any promise about the second Bintulu Chung Hua School, but the simple issue as to whether the Education Minister had given his approval for the establishment of the second Bintulu Chung Hua School.

George Chan should be honest and state clearly whether the Education Minister has given approval for the establishment of the second Bintulu Chung Hua School, and publicly produce proof of such approval, instead of playing games with the people of Bintulu.

If George Chan can produce proof that the Education Minister had given approval for the establishment of the second Bintulu Chung Hua School, I would be the first to congratulate him, although it would also be clear that if not for the important role of the DAP in Kidurong, no such approval would have been given.

However, if the Education Minister had given approval for the second Bintulu Chung Hua School, then the question of its approval cannot be an issue in the by-election and the by-election result can have no bearing on the question of the approval of the school.

This is because after giving official approval for the establishment of the second Bintulu Chung Hua School, the Education Minister has no powers to revoke its approval, and whether SUPP loses or the DAP wins in the by-election would not affect the official approval given for the Bintulu Chung Hua School.

On the other hand, there would be stronger reason why the voters of Kidurong should vote for the DAP and Wong Sing Ai, as the time would have come for the second phase of getting the second Bintulu Chung Hua School become a reality – i.e. by sending a clear message in the by-election that the government, Federal and State, should bear the full costs of building the school and not burden the people further.

George Chan had said in the by-election that anyone who requires money should see him as he is the Finance Minister. Let the voters of Kidurong make it very clear on polling day that they require money for the second Bintulu Chung Hua School, and that they want George Chan as Sarawak Finance Minister to commit responsibility for the Sarawak State Government for at least RM500,000, or half the estimated cost of the school. The other half should come from the Federal Government.

The silly and childish challenge about his resigning or my resigning does not therefore arise, unless the Education Ministry’s approval had not been given.

May be, SUPP leaders think they have some confidence to get the Federal Government to approve the establishment of the second Bintulu Chung Hua school by trading my "political head" on the platter. They might believing that they have some chance to secure approval for the second Bintulu Chung Hua school if in exchange, I am completely eliminated from the political scene.

Except that this scenario must mean that at this moment, the Education Minister has not given approval for the second Chung Hwa school and that George Chan is misleading the voters of Kidurong in giving them a completely different impression.

(23/10/97)


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong