A fourth government commitment on Chinese primary schools which the united front of the MCA Ministers and Keng Yaik should raise in Cabinet tomorrow
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): Yesterday, I called on the four MCA Ministers, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik, Datuk Chua Jui Meng, Datuk Ong Ka Ting and Datuk Dr. Fong Chan Onn to temporarily put aside their MCA “A” and “B” faction differences and, together with the Gerakan Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik , to establish an united front among themselves to demand three government commitments on Chinese primary schools when the Cabinet meets tomorrow, viz:
This follows a Jiao Zong survey showing that nationwide, there are over 336 Chinese primary schools with less than 100 pupils and at least 22 schools with less than 22 pupils, highlights one aspect of the protracted crisis faced by Chinese primary schools in the country.
As I said, if there is a healthy national education policy environment, there should be no problem with the closure of “mosquito” schools with less than 22 pupils. But in Malaysia, this has become a question of survival of Chinese primary schools because of an unstated official policy not to build new Chinese primary schools to meet increased student population needs.
Today, I wish to ask them to raise in Cabinet tomorrow to get a fourth government commitment on Chinese primary schools, namely that no Chinese primary school would have more than 800 to 1,000 students, and top priority would be given to immediately build new Chinese primary schools so that Chinese primary schools which have 1,000, 2,000, 3000 and even 4,000 pupils would not have an average student population of more than 800 to 1,000 students in 24 months’ time.
Following my statement yesterday which was posted on the DAP mailing list, a retired government doctor, one Dr. Nathan, gave a response, which raise many issues which deserve the consideration of all who are concerned about education.
For this reason, I am reproducing below Dr. Nathan’s response:
Dr. Nathan is right. Malaysians should be concerned about the problems faced by all Malaysians – whether national, Chinese or Tamil primary schools; urban or rural. All Malaysians are entitled to the best quality education, from primary, secondary to tertiary, which the country can give them. There is an urgent need for educational reform for all schools.
The raising of the problems specifically faced by Chinese primary schools in Malaysia, however, does not mean that one is not concerned about the plight and quality of national or Tamil primary schools; whether urban or rural. In fact, it is from Dr. Nathan’s letter that I have culled the fourth government commitment on Chinese primary schools which I hope a united front of MCA and Gerakan Ministers would secure in Cabinet tomorrow.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman