DAP to hold a roundtable conference on Tamil  mother-tongue education on 18th March  as contribution to the national consensus on  the New Deal for Mother-tongue Education in the Eight Malaysia Plan

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): DAP will hold a roundtable conference on Tamil mother-tongue education on 18th March as contribution to the national consensus on  the New Deal for Mother-tongue Education in the Eighth Malaysia Plan.

The roundtable conference will consider, among other things, the educational  proposals formulated  before the 1999 general elections by the “Group of Concerned Citizens” in a memorandum entitled “Demands Of Indian Malaysians For A Better Future”,  such as:

In the fifth decade of Malaysian nationhood, all Malaysians regardless of race have accepted Bahasa Malaysia as the national and official language as the common unifying bond.  There is need, however, to strengthen mother-tongue education, which will be in the spirit of the Constitutional guarantee in Article 152 which stipulates that “ (a) no person shall be prohibited or prevented from using (otherwise than for official purposes), or from teaching or learning, any other language; and (b) nothing in this Clause shall prejudice the right of the Federal Government or any State Government to preserve and sustain the use and study of the language of any  other community in the Federation”.

Article 152 envisages not only preserving and sustaining Chinese and Tamil mother-tongue education, but also those of other ethnic groups in the country, like Telegu and the indigenous groups in Sarawak and Sabah.

The New Deal for Mother-Tongue Education in the Eighth Malaysia Plan, which should the result of a national consensus in a nation-wide discussion involving all political parties, both Barisan Nasional and Barisan Alternative, mother-tongue educational bodies, NGOs and concerned Malaysians, should consider the claims for mother-tongue education status by all ethnic communites and groups as Malaysia’s ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity must be regarded as the country’s greatest heritage and resources for the nation’s future in the era of IT and globalisation.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman