This is particularly disappointing as the Cabinet had in February decided that the Education Ministry should implement as soon possible the 1999 general election promise to build four new Chinese primary schools and even more important, the Prime Minister had directed that new Chinese primary schools should be built according to “need” under the Eighth Malaysia Plan.
This Cabinet decision led the former MCA Minister and now MCA Secretary-General and Central Education Bureau chief, Datuk Dr. Ting Chew Peh to publicly hail the Cabinet meeting of 21st February 2001 as a "historic breakthrough for the future of Chinese education" in Malaysia.
Why has this “historic breakthrough for the future of Chinese education” to build new Chinese primary schools according to need been omitted in the Eighth Malaysia Plan when it should be one of the new thrusts of the national education policy in the new decade under the Third Outline Perspective Plan 2001-2010?
The 1999 general election pledge to build four Chinese primary schools
should be regarded as projects under the Seventh Malaysia Plan for two
Two weeks ago, the MCA Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Hon Choon Kim told the MCA Central Education Bureau and MCA State Executive Councillors that “if everything goes well”, another three Chinese primary schools would be built and another three Chinese primary schools would be relocated under the Eighth Malaysia Plan apart from the 1999 general election pledge.
It would be an educational scandal of the first magnitude if all that the MCA could achieve under the Eighth Malaysia Plan are three new Chinese primary schools and the relocation of another three Chinese primary schools.
This is clearly against the Cabinet decision in February for the “historic breakthrough for the future of Chinese education” which should have paved the way for a New Deal for Mother-Tongue Education in the Eighth Malaysia Plan, such as the building of 250 new Chinese primary schools in the next five years to meet increasing demand for school places as well as the long-standing failure in the past five decades to build enough new Chinese primary schools to cope with the doubling of student enrolment since Merdeka in 1957.
Tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting is the last opportunity for MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers to amend the Eighth Malaysia Plan to ensure that it incorporates the "historic breakthrough for the future of Chinese education" to build new Chinese primary schools according to need as decided by the Cabinet in February, and if they fail to get the Cabinet to make such an amendment, they should explain why they had committed such a “historic failure of responsibility” as Cabinet Ministers.