DAP calls for the Murad recommendations to the Mahathir education review committee to revamp the national education system to be made public to ensure that the highest-powered education review in the nation’s 46-year history under a serving Prime Minister is democratic, consultative and fair
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Saturday): On November 29 last year, the UMNO Supreme Council set up the highest-powered education review committee in the nation’s 46-year history as it is the first education review to be headed by a serving Prime Minister and comprises all the important and top UMNO leaders and Ministers.
This national education review, which was never referred to the Cabinet, is probably one of the most important last decisions to be taken by Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in his final three months before he relinquishes office as the fourth 22-year Prime Minister of Malaysia, which is now left with less than 75 days.
It is a matter of grave concern that the Mahathir review of the education system had been conducted not only in total secrecy but to the exclusion of the other Barisan Nasional component parties, as MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP Ministers and leaders have been completely kept out of the process, which is why none of them dare to say anything about the education review and the future of education of Malaysia, as they know nothing.
In December last year, the Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad said the government did not discount the possibility that vernacular schools would be affected by UMNO’s review of the education system, and UMNO leaders like Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak openly criticised the national education system as having failed to create national unity “or at most had a most superficial effect” and spoke of the need to “construct a new framework to promote the integration of the students of diverse races”.
The formation of the highest-powered education review committee by the UMNO Supreme Council was followed by a chorus of calls by UMNO leaders and establishment educationists including former top Education Ministry officials for a single stream school system for all student in Malaysia as the answer to the problem of racial polarization in the country.
Tan Sri Murad Mohamed Noor, who was Education Director-General 1976-1985, was one of them, who said last December that the problem of racial polarization cannot be resolved so long as Chinese and Tamil primary schools were allowed to exist together with national primary schools.
To facilitate the work of the Mahathir education review committee, Murad was assigned the task of heading a group to make recommendations as to how to restructure the national school system and propose a new education system.
Murad told The Star yesterday the education system will undergo significant changes “with far reaching effects” under recommendations his group had forwarded to Mahathir.
DAP calls for the Murad recommendations to the Mahathir education review committee to revamp the national education system to be made public to ensure that the highest-powered education review in the nation’s 46-year history under a serving Prime Minister is democratic, consultative and fair.
Yesterday, MCA Vice President and Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr. Fong Chan Onn said that the MCA is “at one” with the Chinese community on its stand on education, particularly on Chinese primary schools. (Sin Chew)
MCA is only “at one” with the Chinese community on its stand on issues of education outside Cabinet and Parliament when speaking to the Chinese society through the Chinese mass media, but sings a completely different tune when inside the government, whether Cabinet or Parliament.
On Thursday, the Chairman of the Selangor/Kuala Lumpur Federation of Chinese School Committees, Dr. Yap Sin Tian said that there is an urgent need for an additional 103 new Chinese primary schools in the two states to meet student demands, with the Petaling area in Selangor itself short of 41 Chinese primary schools, as there are at present only 16 schools when 57 are needed.
If Fong’s claim that MCA’s stand on Chinese education is “at one” with the Chinese community is genuine, is he and the other three MCA Ministers prepared to take an united stand at the Cabinet next week to support the immediate approval for the establishment of 103 new Chinese primary schools in Selangor and the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur?
If MCA is “at one” with the Chinese community on educational issues, MCA Ministers should support a New Deal for Mother-tongue education and ensure that it is incorporated in the Mid-Term Review of the Eighth Malaysia Plan which should be presented to the next meeting of Parliament starting on September 2, with the following highlights:
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman