My 60th birthday wish - A New Deal for Mother-tongue Education in
the Eighth Malaysia Plan as important national strategy to transform
Malaysia into an information society and knowledge economy
Speech at 60th birthday
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Monday): I want to
thank DAP leaders and members as well as like-minded Malaysians who have
shared, encouraged and supported my pursuit for more than half of
my life for a Malaysian Malaysia, where there is justice, freedom, democracy
and good governance for all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion.
On my 60th birthday, I have several wishes in line with our common quest
for a Malaysian Malaysia.
My first wish is the success of the "Save Damansara School Campaign"
to preserve the original SJK © Damansara to become a model community
Chinese primary school for the students in the vicinity and for a new Chinese
primary school in Tropicana to be built within eight months as promised
by the Education Ministry.
My greatest 60th birthday wish is that there should be a New Deal for
Mother-tongue Education in the Eighth Malaysia Plan 2001-2005 as
an important national strategy to transform Malaysia into an information
society and knowledge economy.
The New Deal for Mother-tongue Education should rectify the decades-old
government neglect and unfair treatment of Chinese and Tamil education,
and as far as Chinese schools are concerned, include the following objectives:
Build 250 new Chinese primary schools, or 50 new schools a year, under
the Eighth Malaysia Plan. During Independence in 1957, there were 1,333
Chinese primary schools with an enrolment of 310,000, but 43 years later,
Chinese primary school enrolment has doubled to over 620,000. There had
been no matching doubling of the number of Chinese primary schools
in the past four decades, but a reduction of some 50 Chinese primary
schools instead to 1,284 schools.
A RM1 billion special allocation for the 60 Chinese Independent Secondary
Schools and 1,284 Chinese primary schools under the Eight Malaysia Plan
in recognition of their contribution to nation-building as well as to redress
inadequate government funding in the past. Each of the 60 Chinese Independent
Secondary Schools should be allocated RM1 million a year and each Chinese
primary school RM100,000 a year from this special allocation.
My 60th birthday wishes also include the following:
Government recognition of Unified Examinations Certificate (UEC)
of Chinese Independent Secondary Schools as part of the national policy
to create a world-class workforce so that Malaysia will have "a
pool of the best talents from at home and abroad" to ensure the country's
success as a K-economy. Early this year, Malaysia suffered a serious brain-drain
when more than 500 of the "best and brightest" school-leavers from
the 60 Chinese Independent Secondary Schools were directly recruited
into Singapore universities. This is a brain drain which cannot be allowed
to continue if Malaysia wants to become a successful K-economy where
knowledge, human ingenuity and skill have replaced labour and capital as
the most important factor of production.
Restoration of national and international confidence in the independence,
impartiality and integrity of the judiciary;
Malaysia ranked as among the world's ten least corrupt nations in the Transparency
International's annual Corruption Perception Index (CPI);
Democratisation in all spheres of national life to restore to Malaysians
the fundamental human rights of freedom of speech, expression, information,
assembly and association.
The strengthening and consolidation of a multi-ethnic political and national
consciousness where all Malaysians are united in their common concern
about "national unity" rather than divided into separate and contradictory
calls for "Malay unity", "Chinese unity" or "Indian unity".
*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman