(Petaling Jaya, Friday): Parents of pupils from SRK © Damansara relocated to SJK © Puay Chai II and want the new school at Tropicana to be built staged a demonstration yesterday to reaffirm their intention to remain at the new school.
This is one consequence of the announcement by the Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad giving one week to the school board to ensure that all students moved to SJK © Puay Chai II or lose the new school near Tropicana.
The stand of parents who want the new school at Tropicana to be built
and until then for their children to remain at the temporarily
relocated Puay Chai II should be respected, just as the position
of parents who want their children to remain at the original site at Section
17 should be respected.
Musa should not be seen to be "playing politics" by pitting parents at Damansara school against each other when he issued the one-week ultimatum on Tuesday, leading to demonstrations and counter-demonstrations with parents deeply divided and bitter among themselves - as this will leave a serious blot in his record as Education Minister,
I call on Musa to put education above partisan politics and to give a Chinese New Year angpow to all Malaysians by immediately resolving the issue with a policy announcement adopting the "win-win" formula of "one school, two premises" or just simply two schools - especially as the country is not facing a surfeit of Chinese primary schools but acute and long-standing shortage!
In announcing that the 1,400 pupils now relocated to Puay Chai II would have to revert back to the old school premises on the expiry of his one-week ultimatum if the board could not get unanimous agreement among the parents to shift, Musa had destroyed the case for the closure of the original school as he is in fact conceding that as far as the Ministry of Education is concerned, the old school premises is suitable to be continued to be used as a school in all aspects.
Musa should show educational statesmanship by agreeing to allow the SJK © Damansara to continue at its original site, although scaled down to be a community school to serve the immediate surrounding environs as the constitutional right to education entrenched in Article 12 of the Constitution must have the important component of accessibility, while allowing the new school at Tropicana to be built unimpeded.
If out of pique or fit of temper, Musa cancels the construction of a new school at Tropicana, which he said could be completed in two years or less, it would be the latest injustice and outrage of a long-standing education administration and policy which refuse to treat mother-tongue education fairly and justly, whether in the construction of adequate Chinese primary schools to meet local community needs, training of adequate teachers or provision of adequate funding.
It is sad that up to now, no MCA or Gerakan Minister or leader had come forward to support the "win-win" formula of "one-school, two premises" or just simply two Chinese primary schools, respecting the wishes of all the parents concerned in firstly, retaining the school at its original site to serve as a community school for the new village and adjacent areas, and secondly, building a new primary school in Tropicana in less than two years for pupils temporarily relocated to Puay Chay II to meet the demands for places in Chinese primary schools for Petaling Jaya and even the Klang Valley.
I would urge MCA and Gerakan Ministers and leaders to come forward to support the "win-win" formula of "one-school, two premises" or just simply two Chinese primary schools so that Musa cannot say that such a "win-win" formula cannot be adopted as it does not have the support of even MCA and Gerakan Ministers and leaders.
Parents of the SRJK © Damansara pupils should not fall victim to any "divide and rule" ruse and allow themselves to be divided and fight among themselves but should solidly unite on a common stand for a win-win formula, as it is their right as Malaysian citizens in a democratic society to demand a solution which respects the rights and wishes of all the parents concerned.