(Petaling Jaya, Monday): DAP invites MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik and the Gerakan President, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to a "Damansara school unity" talk to try to reach agreement on a "3-Win" formula of "one-school, two premises" or two schools to resolve the SJK © Damansara school relocation dispute.
DAP does not believe or support any "Chinese unity", "Indian unity" or "Malay unity" talks as we believe that 43 years after independent nationhood, it is most retrogressive, unMalaysian and a repudiation of Vision 2020 and Bangsa Malaysia concept to hold any such ethnic unity talks when all Malaysians should rally behind "Malaysian unity" talks.
There is an urgent need however for political parties and Malaysians, regardless of political beliefs and affiliations, to rise above political differences to take a common stand on issues affecting Malaysians which are worthy of multi-ethnic, multi-religious and non-partisan political support.
For this reason, the DAP and the other Barisan Alternative parties would be most open-minded and prepared to transcend political party, ethnic or religious differences to discuss national issues and problems with Barisan Nasional component parties for the good of the people and country.
This is why the Barisan Alterative had on 9th January 2001 issued a standing invitation to the Barisan Nasional for "National Unity" talks to discuss critical challenges facing the nation today as Malaysia is in the midst of a crisis related to values and ethics, democracy and human rights, ethnic relations, economic mismanagement and corruption.
It is in the same open-minded attitude to transcend party differences and partisan politics that the DAP is prepared to respond positively to the call by the Dong Zong deputy chairman Dr. Yap Sin Tian at the Thousand-People "Save Our School Solidarity Dinner" in support of the retention of the SJK © Damansara in Section 17, Petaling Jaya on Saturday night that the political parties in government and opposition should work together to realise the "one-school two-premises" solution to the Damansara school controversy.
DAP therefore invites MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik and the Gerakan President, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to a "Damansara school unity" talk to try to reach agreement on a "3-Win" formula of "one-school, two premises" or two schools to resolve the SJK © Damansara school relocation dispute.
The 2001 Year of the Snake Chinese New Year would be most meaningful if Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation, could rise above partisan politics and place education as the transcending priority and an all-party consensus reached that the Damansara school issue be resolved when school re-opens next Monday on 29th January 2001 by way of the "one-school two-premises" or two schools "3-Win" solution.
Such a solution is a "win-win" formula as it would meet the wishes of all the parents concerned, both those who wish their children to remain in SJK © Puay Chai II until construction of the new school at Tropicana within two years and those who wish their children to stay put at the original school premises in Section 17 on grounds of accessibility and community schooling.
Even more important, there is a third "win" in such a solution, making it into a "3-win" formula, as it would ensure that there would be an additional Chinese primary school in Petaling Jaya to meet increased demand from pupils of all races. I agree with Loot Tin Yu, Jiao Zong Vice President, who first spoke of a "3-Win" formula at the Saturday dinner, although my reasons are slightly different from his.
As had been pointed out, under the Petaling Master Plan 1987-2010, 35 new primary schools would be built but they are all national primary schools without a single Chinese primary school - which is grossly unfair and totally unacceptable. The building of Chinese primary schools should not have to depend on the holding of a general election or a by-election to win votes but on the needs of Malaysians and demand for Chinese primary school places.
DAP would be fully in agreement if the "Damansara school unity" talk to resolve the Damansara school controversy is broadened to include all other parties in the Barisan Nasional and the Barisan Alternative, as Chinese primary schooling in the 21st century is no more a Chinese issue or one concerned solely the Chinese community in Malaysia.
This could be seen by the fact that there are more and more Malay and Indian pupils enrolled in the Chinese primary schools, making the equitable and dynamic development of Chinese primary schools a concern not only of the Malaysian Chinese but of all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had given one reason before the last general election for this phenomenon of more and more Malay and Indian parents sending their children to Chinese primary schools - that the teachers and students in these schools are more dedicated and committed.
If the Barisan Nasional government of Mahathir really believes that teachers and students in Chinese primary schools are more dedicated and committed than their counterparts in the national primary schools, then it is time for a sea-change of the Barisan Nasional government policies on the building of new Chinese primary schools - starting with the "3-win" solution to the Damansara school controversy of "one-school two-premises" or two schools formula in retaining the old Damansara school as well as building a new one in Tropicana.