Abdullah should not be too  easily satisfied with Musa’s explanation that there is no policy to stream students on race when NUTP claims that there are more than 250 such schools

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petling Jaya, Thursday)The statement by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that he is happy with the explanation by the  Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad that it is not the ministry’s policy to segregate students based on race must have raised eye-brows nationwide when National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) general secretary Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam said there are more than 250 such schools and named 30 schools which streamed students according to race.

Abdullah should not be to too easily satisfied with Musa’s explanation, giving the impression that he maintains quite low standards to be met by Cabinet Ministers and government officials - which are inimical to the government’s various Client Charters to maintain the highest standards of excellence, professionalism and accountability.

As a first step, Abdullah should insist that Musa establish the veracity of Siva’s claim that more than 250 schools in the country had been streaming students according to race, which is a complete deviation from the 1996 Education Act whose preamble committed the government to an education policy to achieve an “united, democratic, liberal and dynamic” Malaysia.

How can the schools be the nurseries for national unity when students are streamed according to race, instead of academic performance, gender or the examination package the students signed up for, as well as ensuring that there is  a balance in the racial mix?

As a second step, after confirming that over 250 schools in the country had acted against the national objective of making the schools the crucibles of nation-building, all the principals of the 250 schools should be suspended from office unless and until they could prove that they had been directed by higher education authorities to stream students according to race.

Thirdly, there should be a public inquiry as to how such anti-national activities could infest the schools in the country on such a scale  and for such a length of time, tracing the responsibility of the various levels of officials  in the Education Ministry for this shocking state of affairs.

It is only when Abdullah is assured that the pernicious practices of streaming students according to race will be fully investigated and uprooted that he could express satisfaction - and not just because the Education Minister declares that there is no such policy although the practice is so widespread, deep-rooted and condoned by high Education Ministry officials as no one believes that the Education Ministry could be really unaware of such practices without being guilty of gross professional negligence.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman