In the past five months, the hitherto unknown and unheard SJK © Damansara shot to national and international prominence because of the valiant struggle of the Damansara new villagers to preserve and re-open the 70-year-old Chinese primary school as a model community school for the students in the vicinity and adjacent areas in Petaling Jaya.
Liong Sik and the MCA Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Hon Choon Kim are the two leading opponents to the “Save Damansara School” campaign and the greatest obstacle to the “Win-Win” formula of retaining the original Damansara school as a community school in addition to the building of the new Chinese primary school in Tropicana, Petaling Jaya - going against the wishes not only of the Chinese community but the majority of right-thinking MCA officials and rank-and-file, including the MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lim Ah Lek.
Even Ting himself must bear responsibility, as head of the MCA Education Bureau, for refusing to uphold the legitimacy and justice of the Save Damansara School campaign - and it is a real shame on the MCA Ministers and leaders that they could not support the campaign when PAS could declare open support for the preservation and re-opening of the 70-year Damansara Chinese primary school as a model community school with PAS MPs speaking up on the issue in Parliament while MCA MPs remain mute.
Is Ting prepared to agree now that the root problem of the Damansara school controversy is the long-standing refusal of the Barisan Nasional government to build new and adequate Chinese primary schools to meet increasing demands for Chinese primary school places not only by Chinese students, but also by Malay, Indian, Kadazan and Iban students?
In the Petaling district in Selangor, there are 24,518 Chinese primary school students in 14 Chinese primary schools when there should be some 40 Chinese primary schools.
If so, can Ting explain why the MCA is so deadly opposed to the preservation and re-opening of the original Damansara school? Does he agree that the original 70-year-old 25-classroom Damansara school is in a better condition, both in terms of infrastructure and facilities, than many schools and would be ideal for a model community school not for 1,400 students but for 500 students in the vicinity and adjacent areas in Petaling Jaya?
If so, is he prepared as the head of the new MCA special task force to urgently recommend to the four MCA Ministers to re-open the issue of the retention of the Damansara Chinese primary school at next Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting?
Ting said the MCA special task force will assist in the relocation of Chinese primary schools, especially those in the estates with very few students because most of the population have moved out.
It is tragic that Ting does not realise that by setting up a task force on the relocation of Chinese primary schools with no more students, the MCA is continuing to be a party to the unfair treatment of Chinese mother-tongue education and Chinese primary schools.
Chinese schools in estates and remote areas with few students should be close down and the question of their relocation should not arise. This is why UMNO leaders do not have to form a special task force on the relocation of national primary schools.
However, wherever there is a need and demand for Chinese primary school places, new Chinese primary schools should be built.
This is why the DAP has called for a New Deal for Chinese Mother Tongue Education in the Eighth Malaysia Plan (2001-2005).
Ting will be doing MCA, Chinese education and national manpower development
a great service if the new MCA task force that he heads focuses on
the six-point proposal for a New Deal for Chinese Mother-Tongue Education
in the Eighth Malaysia Plan and to get MCA Ministers to take them up in
the Cabinet and government, namely: