Ka Ting should
clarify and convince Berita Harian and Cabinet that the call for the
re-opening of SKJ© Damansara premises under whatever name is not “ tuntutan
melampau” but a most fair and just demand in keeping with the Barisan
Nasional election slogan of “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang”
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Sunday): I was shocked that the Berita Harian yesterday carried the front-page headline: “Tuntutan usah melampau: Pendesak Cina diingat tidak singgung perasaan masyarakat lain” when reporting the explanation of the MCA President and Housing and Local Government Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, on the MCA stand on the four-year-old SKJ© Damansara controversy, conveying the message that the call for the re-opening of the SKJ© Damansara premises is an “extreme demand” and quite anti-national and unpatriotic, not unlike the 1999 general election Suqiu appeals!
Ka Ting should clarify and convince Berita Harian (getting it to publish a retraction also on the front-page) and the Cabinet that the call for the re-opening of SKJ© Damansara premises under whatever name is not “ tuntutan melampau” but a most fair and just demand in keeping with the Barisan Nasional general election slogan of “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang”.
Yesterday’s Berita Harian front-page headline story on Ka Ting’s defence of MCA stand on the SKJ© Damansara controversy read:
“KUALA LUMPUR: Kumpulan
pendesak Cina serta badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) bukan Melayu semalam
diingatkan supaya tidak membuat tuntutan keterlaluan sehingga menyinggung
perasaan masyarakat lain atau menggugat keharmonian kaum di negara ini.
“’Apabila kita tengok dari satu sudut kita
nampak sesuatu perkara itu betul tetapi jika kita pandang dari sudut lain
perkara itu tidak berapa betul. Kita perlu ada kebijaksanaan untuk
menguruskan hal dalam negara berbilang bangsa ini,’ katanya.
This report, if not corrected, will reinforce the belief among UMNO Cabinet Ministers, leaders and members and the Malay society that the call for the re-opening of the SJK© Damansara premises is most unreasonable, extremist, anti-national and unpatriotic, “menyinggung perasaan masyarakat lain”, posed a threat to inter-racial harmony and must be resisted for the sake of building a united Malaysian nation – when all these are totally unfounded, baseless and misconceived.
What is shocking is that the Chinese Cabinet Ministers from MCA, Gerakan and SUPP had done nothing to disabuse the UMNO Cabinet Ministers and leaders and the Malay opinion-leaders including Bahasa Malaysia media like Berita Harian to understand the truth of the SKJ © Damansara controversy – that its root cause is the failure of the Barisan Nasional government to build enough Chinese primary schools to meet ever-increasing demand for Chinese primary school places not only by Chinese pupils, but also by non-Chinese pupils with some 70,000 Malay and Indian students in the Chinese primary schools.
In the past 46 years since Merdeka, there is the ridiculous situation where the school enrolment for Chinese primary schools have doubled but the number of Chinese primary schools in the country have decreased - with pupils in Chinese primary schools in urban areas like the Klang and Kinta Valleys packed like sardines with as many as 55 pupils per class when the ideal class size is 25 to 30 pupils!
Under these circumstances, it is the height of irresponsibility to close down the 25-classroom SJRK © Damansara which is in very good condition and which can play a very important role not only as a community school for the pupils in the vicinity but to help relieve the acute shortage of Chinese school places in Petaling Jaya.
The MCA Presidential Council should work out a strategy to raise the re-opening of the SKJ© Damansara premises under whatever name as a top agenda item in the next Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, so that in keepkng with the Barisan Nasional general election pledge of “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang”, the SKJ© Damansara premises could be re-opened under whatever name within this year.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman