Call on Sarawakians to make a New Deal for Mother-Tongue Education in the
Eighth Malaysia Plan as a primary objective of the forthcoming Sarawak
state general election
(Bintulu, Sunday): Last Wednesday, the
Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad told reporters in Parliament that
the remaining 71 children at SJK (C) Damansara's old premises were
not considered pupils of the school.
- Bintulu DAP Branch Chinese education-fund raising dinner
by Lim Kit Siang
He said he did not use the word "expel" but the status of the
pupils was that "They are no longer pupils of SJK (C) Damansara.''
Musa need not use the word "expel" but the fact is that the 71 pupils
had been expelled from the Damansara school by the Education Ministry even
without a fair and proper inquiry.
When an employer tells his worker that he does not recognise him as
his employee, stressing that he is not dismissing the worker, the law regards
this as "constructive dismissal" and the workers has the right to recourse
to the Industrial Court for reinstatement or fair compensation.
What Musa has announced is the "constructive expulsion" of the 71 pupils
who want to continue to be students of the original Damansara School, which
is most unfair and punitive.
Last month, the top MCA national leadership had claimed that the Cabinet
meeting of Feb. 21, 2001 had made a decision which represented _a
historic breakthrough for the future of Chinese education_.
Former MCA Cabinet Minister and MCA Director of Education Bureau, Dr.
Ting Chew Peh said the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad
had at that Cabinet meeting directed the Education Ministry to implement
as soon as possible the Barisan Nasional_s 1999 general election
pledges to build new Chinese primary schools and relocate Chinese primary
schools, and agreed to the building of more Chinese primary schools _according
If the Cabinet had made the "historic breakthrough for the future of
Chinese education" in deciding that henceforth new Chinese primary schools
would be built "according to need", then the Cabinet should start with
the new formula of "One plus One" instead of "One for One" by allowing
for the retention and reopening of the original Damansara school in addition
to the new Chinese primary school to be built within eight months in Tropicana,
Petaling in Selangor.
If the Cabinet had decided on a "historic breakthrough for Chinese
education", then there can be no justification for the expulsion of the
71 pupils who wanted to remain in the original Damansara Chinese primary
school and these students should be immediately reinstated by the Education
The three-month long controversy over the retention of the 70-year
35-classroom Damansara Chinese primary school seems insoluble with the
MCA Ministers, led by the MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik
stubbornly refusing to heed the aspirations of the people when Malaysians,
including Malays and other non-Chinese, have come forward to support the
cause for the retention of the Damansara primary school.
Can the campaign and cause for the retention and re-opening of Damansara
If there is a by-election in Selangor or in any other state in Peninsular
Malaysia, the Damansara school would be resolved instantly to show that
under special circumstances in Malaysia, even "iron trees can flower"!
The Damansara School controversy is not just about the retention and
re-opening of the 75-year-old school as a community school for school-children
in the vicinity, but about justice and fair play for mother-tongue education,
making all Malaysians conscious that the time has come for rectify the
decades of injustices and unfair Barisan Nasional treatment for mother-tongue
education in the country.
The Damansara School controversy should be the catalyst for a
New Deal for Mother-tongue education in th Eighth Malaysia Plan which would
be presented to Parliament next month for debate and adoption.
Although there is no by-election in Peninsular Malaysia,
there is an impending state general election in Sarawak.
I call on Sarawakians to make A New Deal for Mother-Tongue Education
in the Eighth Malaysia Plan a primary objective of the forthcoming Sarawak
state general election, to ensure that Chinese mother-tongue education
is given its rightful place in the mainstream of the national education
policy and system the 21st century.
*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman