Call on MCA, Gerakan, MIC and SUPP Ministers to break their long silence and give their stand on the new committee headed by Mahathir to review the entire national education system to ensure that all children go to national schools and explain how it will affect the position, development and future of Chinese and Tamil primary schools
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): MCA, Gerakan, MIC and SUPP Ministers should break their long silence and give their stand on the new committee headed by Mahathir to review the entire national education system to ensure that all children go to national schools in the not-too-distant future and explain how it will affect the position, development and future of Chinese and Tamil primary schools.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad announced nine days ago on November 29 after the UMNO supreme council meeting that the UMNO leadership has decided to establish a committee under his chairmanship to review the entire national education system because it had deviated from the aim of the original system to ensure that Malaysian children attend the national schools.
Although the first impression from Mahathir’s announcement for many was that it was established to address the different religious school systems run by State Governments, the People’s Religious Schools and private organizations which enroll some 126,000 pupils, subsequent comments by UMNO leaders and establishment educationists have made it very clear that the review chaired by Mahathir is a comprehensive one involving the entire education system affecting all types of schools..
The Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin made it very clear that the review headed by Mahathir would involve all types of government and government-assisted schools, i.e. including national, Chinese and Tamil primary schools.
UMNO Information chief, Tan Sri Megat Junid told Utusan Malaysia (2.12.02) that Mahathir made the proposal for the establishment of an education review committee at the UMNO Supreme Council meeting the previous Friday because the national school system had deviated from its original objective where the national schools are the primary choice of all parents in Malaysia.
Megat said that all UMNO Supreme Council members were given the opportunity to present their individual views on the proposal before a decision was taken to establish a committee to review the entire education system.
However, what is most astounding is that the proposal to establish the highest-level committee to review the entire national education system headed by the Prime Minister himself was never decided or even brought to the Cabinet, another example of the marginalization and irrelevance of the Cabinet in the Barisan Nasional scheme of things.
Gerakan President and Minister for Primary Industries, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik is more concerned about extracting a “pound of flesh” from the MCA over the controversy of the two Penang MCA Assembly members, Tan Cheng Liang (Jawi) and Lim Boo Chang (Datuk Keramat) for abstaining on the DAP motion by Assemblyman for Batu Lanchang, Law Heng Kiang, in the recent Penang State Assembly to defer the RM1.02 billion Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) project until the RM400 million Jelutong Expressway is completed while the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, is more pre-occupied probably fighting for his political survival – and both are not bothered about issues affecting the people and future generations, whether the review of the entire national education system or PORR itself.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman