Call on Education Ministry to honour the promise given by Hon Choon Kim last year to make  public the cut-off points and the number of university intake  places for each course in every  public university as a step forward towards greater transparency in university intake process

Media Statement
-after paying the  last respects to former Assistant Education Minister Too Joon Hing 
by Lim Kit Siang

(Ipoh,  Tuesday) Malaysia has lost a great son with the death of the nation’s first Assistant Education Minister since independent nationhood in 1957, Too Joon Hing, 91, who resigned as Assistant Education Minister 53 years ago in 1959 when aged 48 on a matter of political principle and conviction.

Although Too had remained untitled and unrecognized by the government, the state and the ruling parties including MCA for which he once held the high post of Secretary-General – and  he should have become a Tan Sri if not a Tun as has come the way of his many  political contemporaries and juniors in MCA and the Alliance in the fifties -  the people had always valued and honoured  his personal sacrifices and contributions to the Malaysian nation in standing up uncompromisingly for the 1957 Merdeka Constitution and the “social contract” of the major communities as the fundamental  constitutional principles and  nation-building cornerstones of our plural society to the extent of exchanging the “bed of roses” in government for a “crown of thorns” for the people and nation.  

This is why as far back as in 1962, the people of Teluk Intan created a major political upset by electing Too as their Member of Parliament in a by-election when he stood as an independent candidate after resigning from the Ministerial benches  and the MCA on political principle and  conviction – the first of two occasions in Malaysian history when the people of Teluk Intan spoke and acted for the nation.  

Although Too has left us, his memory will continue to  be held dear by Malaysians, especially those who can see the shocking paucity  in contemporary times of political leaders with principles and conviction who are not afraid to take a public stand on what is right and wrong, good or bad in  the larger interests of the  people, and who are prepared to subordinate their  personal interests of self-advancement whether for high political  office or enrichment opportunities to the greater good of the  nation. 

By his sacrifices and dedication to political principles, Too is in fact a Malaysian patriot and nationalist par excellence and the eternal symbol  that patriotism and nationalism is not the exclusive monopoly of Ministers or the titled,  and his family, who must have suffered a lot during the years when Too was carrying the political cross for the people, can rightly be proud of Too’s life and legacy.  

If  Malaysians have in the past four decades Deputy Education Ministers of the calibre, dedication and conviction of Too,  the Malaysian education sytem will not be in such a mess today – rocking from one catastrophe to another. If we have a Deputy Education Minister with the calibre, courage, dedication and vision of Too, Malaysians would have been spared the  numerous educational crises like the Damansara Chinese Primary School re-opening and Vision School controversies and the latest nation-wide furore over the unfair and unprofessional meritocracy system for university admissions.  

The best way to remember Too will be to perpetuate his spirit, courage and dedication, and the current MCA Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Hon Choon Kim should  find inspiration from the first MCA Deputy Education Minister  in dealing with the many outstanding educational problems of the day, including:  

  1. Take immediate steps to re-open the Damansara Chinese primary school as a community school, as Chinese primary schools whether in Petaling Jaya or in the rest of the country do not suffer from over-building but shortage of classes and school-buildings.
  2. Suspend all Vision School projects until there is national consensus on its suitability and desirability and that it is not the thin end of the wedge to achieve the “final objective” of the National Education Policy to have only single-medium schools in the country.
  3. Accept responsibility for the ugly enrolment commotion in  SJK© Tiram in Johore Bahru, as it is unfair for Hon to blame it on “inefficient administration” of the school when the root cause is the government refusal to build  new Chinese primary schools to meet  increasing and overwhelming enrolment demands.
  4. Resolve the injustice suffered by some 10,000 diploma holders with good results who were suddenly denied places in public universities this year because of an unfair and illegal change of university selection policy.
  5. Honour his  public pledge in May last year that from this year, the Education Ministry would reveal to the public the number of places available for each course in every public university as well as indicate to applicants the cut-off points of the previous year for the individual courses.  


For a start, let the  Education Ministry  honour the promise given by Hon last year and  immediately make  public the cut-off points and the number of university intake  places for each course in every  public university as a step forward towards greater transparency in university intake process.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman