Mahathir said Malay students are not serious about their studies and that teachers too are not dedicated to their profession, with some even carrying out a "hate campaign" against certain leaders and the government.
He observed that Malay students are distracted easily from studies by matters such as "politics and demonstrations".
He said many of the calls to allow students to be involved in politics came from Malays whose performance at the universities was poor compared to that of their non-Malay peers.
Mahathir was clearly being unfair to Malay teachers and students in blaming the problems and defects of the educational system on "politics and demonstrations" which, if true, only started about a year ago following the outrageously unfair manner in which Anwar Ibrahim was sacked as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister on Sept. 2 last year, his brutal assault in the very inner sanctum of the police high command in Bukit Aman on the night of his arrest on Sept. 20 last year and his persecution, trial, conviction, sentence and imprisonment.
Mahathir said that some Malays now preferred to send their children to Chinese-medium schools instead not so that their children could "pick up the Chinese language, but the perception that students and teachers are more committed in Chinese schools".
Mahathir said realise that the 60,000 Malay students presently enrolled in the Chinese primary schools did not come about only in the past one year, after Anwar’s sacking resulting in the involvement of Malay teachers and students in "politics and demonstrations", but it was a trend which had started for some ten years.
Mahathir should not find the easy way out by putting the blame for the weaknesses and faults of the national education system and the national schools on "politics and demonstrations" in the past one year, when these had existed in the past few decades.
The Barisan Nasional government, and in particular the Education Minister, Datuk Najib Tun Razak must bear responsibility for the sad plight of affairs in the national education system where Malay parents have no confidence in the quality of education provided at the national schools and prefer to send their children to Chinese primary schools although they do not have the facilities provided in national schools.
As Mahathir is now belatedly acknowledging the great contribution made by the Chinese primary schools not only in national education but also in national development, the time has come for the Barisan Nasional government to end its discriminatory policy towards Chinese and Tamil primary schools, and to treat them at par with the national primary schools.
In this connection, I call on the Cabinet to hold a special meeting
to consider and adopt the six affirmations and twelve demands of
the Dong Jiao Zong’s 1999 Declaration on Mother Tongue Education,
particularly calling on the Education Minister to: