(Bukit Mertajam, Wednesday): MCA, Gerakan, MIC and SUPP Ministers should put aside their petty party differences and join forces to secure support of UMNO Ministers and ensure that the Eighth Malaysia Plan highlights a New Deal for Mother-tongue Education for the next five years to rectify the decades-old government neglect and unfair treatment of Chinese and Tamil education.
During my last speech in Parliament on 1st November 1999, during the debate on the 2000 budget which was held on the eve of the dissolution of Parliament for the 1999 general elections, I had referred to the Prime Minister’s “belated recognition” of the great contribution to nation-building and manpower education made by Chinese Independent Secondary Schools and Chinese primary schools in the past four decades when Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad publicly praised teachers and students in Chinese Independent Secondary Schools and Chinese primary schools as being more dedicated and committed, to the extent that some Malays preferred to send their children to Chinese-medium schools.
But the trouble with Barisan Nasional politics is that the Prime Minister and UMNO Ministers would praise Chinese education “sky-high” to woo Chinese votes before a general election but would completely forget about them for the next four years until the next general election.
This opportunistic and unprincipled attitude towards Chinese schools
in Malaysia should stop and this is why I had in my last speech in Parliament
called for an end to this unfair treatment of Chinese schools
and to put them on
par with the national primary schools in terms of financial allocation.
I specifically proposed that the Government make a RM1 billion special allocation for the 60 Chinese Independent Secondary Schools and the 1,200 Chinese primary schools to be paid out in the next five years in recognition of their contribution to nation-building.
Each of the 60 Chinese Independent Secondary School should be allocated RM1 million a year and each Chinese primary school allocated RM100,000 from this special allocation, over and above their usual allocations.
MCA, Gerakan, MIC and SUPP Ministers must now get the agreement of UMNO Ministers to incorporate this RM1 billion special allocation for the 60 Chinese Independent Secondary Schools and 1,284 Chinese primary schools into the Eighth Malaysia Plan in recognition of their contribution to nation-building as well as to redress inadequate government funding in the past.
This should be one of the important features of the New Deal for Mother-tongue
Education in the Eighth Malaysia Plan when presented to Parliament next
month. The New Deal should also set the following targets:
The “Save Damansara School” campaign should make Malaysians aware of the importance and need for a New Deal for Mother-Tongue Education in the Eighth Malaysia Plan, not only to protect and promote mother-tongue education but as an important national strategy to transform Malaysia into an information society and K-economy.
Together with the nation-wide “Save Damasara School” campaign there should be an accompanying “New Deal for Mother-Tongue Education in the Eighth Malaysia Plan” nation-wide campaign.
DAP proposes to launch the “New Deal for Mother-Tongue Education in Eighth Malaysia Plan” nation-wide campaign and I hope MCA and Gerakan members on the ground throughout the country would be in the forefront supporting such a campaign.