Summary of the speech 
by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Vice-Chairman and MP for Kepong 
during the debate at the committee stage (Ministry of Education with allocations of RM1,463,561,710), Supplementary Supply Bill  in Dewan Rakyat
on 2.4.2002

We call on the Malaysian Government to study the ways to integrate all races from primary and secondary schools to universities including those students sent overseas

The Malaysian Government has used the allocations to renovate and build schools and universities. Part of the economic stimulation package of RM7.3 billion is to build more schools. Here, the Education Ministry has used RM135,130,000 to implement 671 projects. The package emphasizes on building 100 new schools. If these are built, they help to alleviate the shortage of schools.


The ministry must fulfill the aspirations of the people. If the residents of an area ask for a national school, it erects a national school and, similarly, primary Chinese and Tamil schools. This will make it easier to implement compulsory education, the bill on which has been passed in the Dewan Rakyat last month. 

We don't know how many new schools have been erected. (In 1999, the Government promised to build five new primary Chinese schools. Last month, it said that work on three of them would start soon. We are waiting for the Government to fulfill the promise.)

If the people ask for 50 primary Chinese schools out of the 100, then the Government must consider the request. (We understand that there is shortage of national schools in some areas).


The ministry has six vision schools under the Eighth Malaysia Plan. 15 USJ Vision School will be officially declared open on 5 June, 2002.

A vision school stresses landscaping, common playing ground, hall and canteen for National, Chinese and Tamil schools, to sow the seed for integration. The Ministry believes that this type of schools will not destroy the character of Chinese and Tamil schools.

(Chinese educationists think that this is a way of reaching the 'final objective', that is the crux of the 1956 Razak Report of having a single stream in all schools.)

On principle, integration of all races, encouraging tolerance, mutual respect and give and take, is correct. But, the ministry must use the spirit of integration to integrate the Chinese educationists. (Accusing them of safeguarding a narrow interest does not help. The tortuous history of Malaysian education, the multiracial society and the multi-stream schools make Chinese and Tamil educationists wary of the proposed vision schools.)


The natural sequence of vision primary schools is vision secondary schools and vision universities. The concept and reality or the theory and practice are two different things. We must study the two aspects.

There is only one stream of education with one language in Indonesia, from primary, secondary to tertiary levels. Indonesian students have common halls, playing fields and canteens. Nevertheless, why are there upheavals in the country? We must learn the lessons from the educational system in Indonesia.

The integration policy must embody factors such as tolerance and equal opportunities, using non-racial approach to help those in need.

Mono-ethnic political parties have their inherent racialism that is a stumbling block to integration. The Malays, the Chinese and the Indians in UMNO, MCA and MIC, respectively, sing their racial tunes. All political parties must pay attention to this issue.

Sending students overseas, whether private or public-funded, may see the spawning of chauvinism and racialism. Birds of the same feather flock together. Students in foreign lands often forget the spirit of integration.