Cabinet should honour 2004 general election
pledge to be fair to Chinese primary schools and adopt a new policy to build
new schools to meet increased local enrolment demands and end the rigmarole
to “search and relocate” from another district or state a Chinese primary
school with very few pupils
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The time has come for the Cabinet and the Barisan Nasional to honour the 2004 general election pledge to be fair to Chinese primary schools and adopt a new policy to build new schools to meet increased local enrolment demands and end the rigmarole to “search and relocate” from another district or state a Chinese primary school with very few pupils.
The denial of Chinese primary school places involving some 800 new pupils in Puchong and the attempt by the MCA Deputy Education Minister, Hon Choon Kam, to address the problem by trying to “search and relocate” a Chinese primary school from Perak with very few pupils to Puchong in Selangor is most ludicrous, highlighting the lack of a fair and professional education policy which accords a rightful place to mother-tongue education in the country.
If there is a shortage of 800 national primary school places in any locality, the professional and logical solution is to build one or two new schools in the area to meet the increased needs. Why is such a natural solution so difficult and even unthinkable to meet the demands of parents and children for Chinese primary schools places?
The “search and relocation” of one Chinese primary school with few pupils from Perak to Selangor would not even touch the surface of the acute problem of grave shortage of Chinese primary school pupils in the Klang Valley, as statistics have shown that there is a shortage of 103 Chinese primary schools to meet increased enrolment needs in the Klang Valley alone. For Johore Bahru, there is a shortage of 21 Chinese primary schools, making a total shortage of 124 schools just for these two regions.
A joint survey by Dong Zong and Selangor/Kuala Lumpur Federation of Chinese School Committees last September reported that although there was an increase of 183,000 pupils in Chinese primary schools in the past 30 years, there had not only been no increase of Chinese primary schools but a reduction of 62 schools - which is most outrageous, contrary to all sound principles of healthy development of mother-tongue education in plural Malaysia.
In the context of the longstanding acute shortage of Chinese primary schools to meet increased enrolment demands, it is even more outrageous that the Cabinet is not prepared to allow the re-opening of the original Damansara Chinese primary school.
DAP calls on all the Cabinet Ministers to adopt a fair, progressive and professional approach to rectify the injustices and unfair treatment suffered by Chinese primary schools in the past few decades, and to adopt New Deal for Mother-Tongue Education, starting with a new policy to build new Chinese primary schools where there are increased enrolment demands, and end the rigmarole of the “search and relocate” from another district or state Chinese primary schools with few pupils - starting with the re-opening of the Damansara Chinese primary school.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman