Call on Keng Yaik and Gerakan leadership to stop their dishonest and malicious campaign against the DAP and Dong Jiao Zong as being chauvinist and “playing racial cards” in opposing the 2-4-3 formula and to publicly apologise for the Gerakan think-tank’s attacks on Chinese mother-tongue education as the source of social ills like high school dropout rate, prostitution and criminal activities
- opening of the 2003 Penang DAP State Convention
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Sunday): Gerakan President Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and the Gerakan leadership should stop their dishonest and malicious attacks of the DAP and Dong Jiao Zong as being chauvinist and “playing racial cards” in opposing the 2-4-3 formula to teach maths and science in English in Chinese primary schools from Std. One this year.
Keng Yaik and the Gerakan leadership were incensed that DAP had made two sharp critiques about the recent 2003 Gerakan National Delegates Conference with regard to the controversy over the 2-4-3 formula to teach mathematics and science in English in Chinese primary schools from Std. One, viz:
As Keng Yaik and the Gerakan leadership were unable to deny the validity of these two critiques, they had decided instead to launch a dishonest and malicious campaign against the DAP of being in the company of Dong Jiao Zong as being chauvinist and “playing racial cards” on Chinese education.
The Gerakan think-tank, Socio-Economic Development and Research (SEDAR) for instance made serious allegations against the DAP, Dong Jiao Zong and Chinese mother-tongue education in a letter to Malaysiakini on Thursday, under the tendentious heading “DAP keen on exploiting race-based issues”:
“On the use of English to teach mathematics and science subjects in primary schools, DAP’s argument is consistent with Dong Jiao Zong. Both say that the policy of using English to teach mathematics and science subjects in Chinese primary schools would result in the change of their character and cannot be used as the main reason to reject its implementation.
“A recent report by the Education Ministry revealed that one in four Chinese students in Malaysia failed to complete secondary education and the rate is virtually the same as that of Malays and other races. The study revealed that all the dropout students were taught in Mandarin in their schools. This breaks the myth that the use of Mandarin to teach mathematics and science in primary schools guarantees educational excellence.
“Other problems faced by Chinese students after the completion of their studies include difficulty in finding jobs and social displacement, leading to social ills such as prostitution and criminal activities.
“The main obstacle is the lack of English proficiency. Other issues that were identified include the post-modernist culture and the erosion of traditional reverence for education and scholastic achievement.
“It is obvious that DAP has failed to contribute to national issues but is more content with playing racial cards, consistent with my debates with some of its party leaders on the issue of Chinese education.”
I am dumbfounded that the Gerakan leadership and its think-tank have not only tarred DAP and Dong Jiao Zong with the allegations of being racists and chauvinists for opposing the 2-4-3 formula, but have blamed Chinese mother-tongue education for social ills such as high school dropout rate, prostitution and criminal activities, and claiming that the main reason for Chinese students failing to get employment is “lack of English proficiency”. Such allegations and canards are not only defamatory of the DAP and Dong Jiao Zong but make unwarranted and unacceptable insinuations and imputations against Chinese mother-tongue education.
DAP challenges Keng Yaik and the Gerakan leadership to go to the Cabinet and Parliament to support the DAP proposal to devote all the nine new periods for Std. One pupils in Chinese primary schools to teaching English if there is can be no further modification of the weekly timetable, as pupils with all nine periods teaching English would end up having better proficiency in English, mathematics and science than under the present 2-4-3 formula at the end of the primary schooling system.
Keng Yaik and the Gerakan leadership should stop the malicious attacks against the DAP and Dong Jiao Zong for opposing the 2-4-3 formula, as well as publicly apologise for its think-tank’s attack on Chinese mother-tongue education as the cause of social ills like high school drop-out rate, prostitution and criminal activities.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman