Closure of Tamil schools: DAP willing to debate with PPP President on two questions

Press Statement
by Kerk Kim Hock

(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): PPP President Datuk M. Kayveas was quoted in today’s Sin Chew Jit Poh as defending his earlier statement on the closing of Tamil schools.

The Sin Chew news, which was actually a Bernama report, quoted Kayveas as saying; “ I only said that in order to achieve the objective of Bangsa Malaysia, we should consider closing down the Tamil schools, and then the Chinese primary schools. Students who are studying in these schools should be transferred to the national schools. Tamil, Chinese, English and Malay should be made compulsory subjects of the national schools.”

He was also quoted as saying that such has ways been the PPP’s Party policy.

The Star reported today that Kayveas was willing to debate with the MIC or DAP on the plight of Tamil schools.

I hereby announce that I am wiling to take up Kayveas ‘ challenge and I am prepared to publicly debate with him two important questions:

Whether a single stream education system is suitable for Malaysia?

Plight of the Tamil schools –who should be responsible and what should be done?

DAP ‘s position on the question of education is firm and clear – that the existence of multi stream education is not a cause of national disunity. DAP insists that a multi stream education system is suitable for a multi racial nation like Malaysia and it is the government’s responsibility to accord fair and just treatment to all schools.

Hence, DAP rejects the PPP’s stand that the government must implement a single stream education system.

In fact, Kayveas’s calling for the closure of the Tamil schools has clearly infringed the 1948 Sedition Act and that is why the DAPSY leaders had lodged a police report against him.

Article 152 of the Federal Constitution clearly states, “ no person shall be prohibited from using (otherwise than for official purposes), or from teaching or learning, any other language.”

It is therefore totally unacceptable for anyone to call for the closure of Tamil schools with whatever excuses, whether the excuse is that such schools lack the basic facilities or that the schools does not provide a contusive learning environment.

Instead of talking about closing down the Tamil schools, Kayveas should in fact ponder why, after the nation has achieved independence for many years, the Tamil schools which have been placed in the mainstream of the nation’s education system still face so much basic problems?

Isn’t the plight of the Tamil schools a failure on the part of the government and is it fair and logical for Kayveas to propose resolving such plight by closing down the schools?

As a government leader, is it not his responsibility to stand up for the Tamil schools rather than to call for their closure on the ground that they face exist?

Since Kayveas has said that it is the PPP’s stand that only single stream education should exist in the country and that he is wiling to debate with MIC or DAP on the question of the Tamil schools, I hope he will debate with me on the above two important questions.


* Kerk Kim Hock, DAP Secretary General and MP for Kota Melaka