Is Musa doing a “Mahathir” on the Suqiu controversy, where he will later repudiate his rebuttal of Aziz’s statement about compelling Chinese primary schools to join in Vision School programme on the ground that he was forced to do so to win votes with the approach of general election
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Tuesday): Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad had reacted with uncharacteristic alacrity when he rebutted the warning by the Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Abdul Aziz Samsudin, in Utusan Malaysia yesterday that the involvement of Chinese national-type primary schools in the Vision School programme would be made compulsory if the Chinese community continues to be “stubborn” and all other efforts to make it a success fails. In less than 24 hours, Musa came out to rebut Aziz, stating that Chinese primary schools would not be compelled to join the Vision School programme against their wishes.
The question uppermost in many minds is whether Musa is doing a “Mahathir” on the Suqiu controversy, where he will later repudiate his rebuttal of Aziz’s statement about compelling Chinese primary schools to join in the Vision School programme on the ground that he was forced to do so just to win votes with the approach of general election.
Malaysians can still remember the shocking admission by the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in Parliament in December 2000 that before the 1999 general election, the Cabinet was forced to accept the Suqiu election appeals “in principle” as the general election was approaching then, stating:
"We were threatened then as elections were just round the corner. That’s why they came up with the memorandum, as a threat to the Barisan Nasional, and that if we didn’t entertain their request they would tell the Chinese not to support us.
"This was deliberate and the timing was well-planned. What could we do then?"
Is Musa’s swift rebuttal of Aziz’s warning about using compulsion on Chinese primary schools to implement the Vision School concept motivated by the same consideration of not alienating voters with the approach of the general election, and which could be repudiated after a landslide Barisan Nasional 2004 election victory?
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman