MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers and leaders  should declare whether they agree with UMNO that any  opposition and criticism of the “2:4:3 formula” for using English to teach mathematics and science in Std. One in Chinese primary schools is anti-national, unpatriotic  and the government should invoke the  Sedition Act and ISA against them

Media Statement
Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Wednesday): Although the ferocious attack by Barisan Nasional leaders whether UMNO, MCA or Gerakan on Dong Jiao Zong for its stand on the  “2:4:3 formula” to use English to teach mathematics and science from Std. One  is not unexpected, it does not make  it  any less deplorable or  reprehensible for their high-handed and undemocratic attempt to suppress legitimate dissent on an important subject affecting the welfare of the next generation as well as the future prosperity of the country. 

Among the epithets hurled against Dong Jiao Zong for its stand on the “2:4:3” formula yesterday were “chauvinistic”, “unpatriotic”,  “dangerous” and “seditious”.


UMNO vice president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin described Dong Jiao Zong as “a group of chauvinistic and unpatriotic people who do not respect or understand national policy”.


UMNO vice president  Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Dong Jiao Zong’s action was “dangerous and can tantamount to sedition”.


Tan Sri Muhammad Muhamad Taib, the other UMNO vice president, said Dong Jiao Zong  were attempting to impose the views of a minority on the majority.


UMNO Youth leader, Datuk Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, outdid the  three UMNO vice presidents when he  issued “a stern warning” to  Dong Jiao Zong not to “play with the fire of communalism”, branding them as “narrow-minded extremists” and called on the government not to hesitate to take severe  action against the two organizations if they continue to “incite” the Chinese community on an educational issue “which had been agreed to by all parties”.


Today’s Utusan Malaysia editorial  “menyedarkan Puak Pelampau Cina”  was equally  incendiary, calling for the invocation  of both  the Sedition Act and  the Internal Security Act against Dong Jiao Zong leaders  when it said:


“Adalah wajar mulai 2008, peperiksaan Sains dan Matematik peringkat Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) di SJKC dijalankan dalam bahasa Inggeris supaya ia seragam dengan aliran sekolah lain. Jika perkara ini menjadi punca kebimbangan pertubuhan Cina itu dan iri hati apabila akhirnya matlamat ke arah penggunaan bahasa Inggeris bagi dua mata pelajaran itu tercapai di SJKC, maka jelaslah mereka langsung tidak mahu bertolak ansur.


“Pendirian dan kenyataan yang berbau hasutan kepada kaum Cina supaya turut membantah dan menggagalkan dasar kerajaan daripada dilaksanakan adalah suatu ancaman yang boleh mendatangkan mudarat kepada masyarakat berbilang kaum di negara ini.


“Mereka tidak harus bertindak melampau dalam mempertahankan unsur-unsur kecinaan hingga tidak boleh langsung diusik oleh kerajaan. Dong Zong dan Jiao Zong harus disedarkan hakikat bahawa di sebalik beberapa kelonggaran yang diberikan oleh kerajaan kepada kaum Cina dengan mengekalkan SJKC, yang tidak diperoleh kaum Cina di negara lain, sikap menghasut mereka itu sebenarnya boleh diambil tindakan oleh kerajaan di bawah Akta Hasutan.


“Kementerian Dalam Negeri, pernah memberi ingatan kepada pihak pelampau kaum bahawa mereka juga boleh diambil tindakan lebih keras termasuk Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA) sebagaimana kerajaan mengambil tindakan ke atas pelampau agama.”


MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers and leaders should declare whether they agree with these UMNO leaders that any  opposition and criticism of the “2:4:3 formula” for using English to  teach mathematics and science in Std. One in Chinese primary schools is anti-national, unpatriotic  and that the government should invoke the  Sedition Act and the ISA against them.


This is particularly important as from the reactions of MCA and Gerakan leaders to the Dong Jiao Zong stand, it would appear that they would not mind if the Sedition Act and the Internal Security Act are used to stifle all legitimate dissent on the issue.


For instance, MCA vice president Datuk Fong Chan Onn said that the Barisan Nasional had resolved the matter and there was no need for Dong Jiao Zong to debate it.


Gerakan Secretary-General Chia Kwang Chye said the all parties concerned, whether from the Government or Opposition, should let the matter rest and allow the teaching of the two subjects in English to continue for the sake of their children’s future.


MCA Wanita chief Datuk Dr. Ng Yen Yen regretted the negative stand of Dong Jiao Zong, declaring that the Barisan Nasional had taken a wise decision after much consultation and consensus.


It is obvious that underlying all the these reactions, whether UMNO, MCA or Gerakan leaders, is the common fear that the “2:4:3 formula” cannot withstand an  open debate, discussion and scrutiny as to whether it is the best educational solution to achieve the three objectives of  “Formula 1-2-3”, viz.  to enhance English proficiency, maintain traditional high standards in mathematics and science and to preserve mother-tongue proficiency.


There is unanimous agreement on the need for Malaysians to master English to ensure the nation’s international competitiveness in the era of globalization, liberalization and information and communications technology – but there are very strong and powerful grounds that the “2:4:3” proposal decided by the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council and the Cabinet is not educationally sound or  in the best interests of the students and the country.


Some Barisan Nasional leaders are claiming that there are enough debate on the use of English in Chinese schools, which is most nonsensical as no such public debate had been allowed with the Chinese newspapers in particular tightly censored from giving space for diverse views on this important subject in the past few months.


UMNO leaders should not doubt or question the loyalty, patriotism or bona fides of Dong Jiao  Zong or any Malaysian who question the educational merits of the “2:4:3” formula as to whether it is in the best  interest of the students and the country, and MCA, Gerakan and SUPP leaders must publicly dissociate themselves from such extremist views and seek to alter such biased and narrow-minded perceptions if they do not privately and silently support them.



* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman