Fiasco of Education Ministry position on Unified Examination (UE)  Certificate typical of Barisan Nasionalís "two steps backward, one step forward" attitude towards mother-tongue education when what is needed in new millennium is "two steps forwards, no step backward" strategy

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The fiasco of  the Education Ministryís  position on Unified Examination (UE)  Certificate is  typical of Barisan Nasionalís "two steps backward, one step forward" attitude towards mother-tongue education when what is needed in the new millennium is "two-step forward, no step backward" strategy.

Yesterday, the  Education Minister Musa Mohamad announced that  the Cabinet had reversed his ministry's decision made last June that barred private universities and colleges from recognising the Chinese  Independent High School Unified  Examination (UE) Certificate.

A day earlier, the Chinese education movement Dong Jiao Zhong had disclosed that the Education Ministry in June last  year  had issued a directive  to government and  private colleges on this ban as well as requiring them  to insert in their recruitment advertisements  to change a previous clause of "or similar qualifications" to "qualifications accepted by  the Malaysian government".

It is unbelievable that the MCA leadership, which traditionally has a MCA Deputy Minister, is unaware of such a Education Ministry directive, which only goes to prove their  impotence, as further illustrated by the recent controversy over the undemocratic and arbitrary ban of a Chinese New Year exhibition  by the Universiti Technology Malaysia authorities.

There is no doubt that if not for the Sanggang by-election, there would not have been such a swift reaction by the Cabinet on this issue.  UMNO leaders are so worried about the outcome of the Sanggang by-election that for the first time in UMNO history, the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is personally leading the by-election campaign - making almost daily visits to the constituency and at times camping in Sanggang.

However, the United Examination Certificate issue has not been fully resolved.  Barisan Nasional leaders are prepared to praise sky-high Chinese primary schools and Chinese independent secondary schools just to woo Chinese votes, but the government has never been prepared to change its policy to fully integrate Chinese education into the mainstream of national education policy.

Let the Barisan Nasional government  demonstrate its sincerity on mother-tongue  education policy by announcing before Sanggang polling on Saturday  the following:


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman