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DAP To Move An Emergency Motion In Parliament Next Week To Discuss The Poor Condition Of Chinese & Tamil Primary Schools Throughout Malaysia And The Need To Immediately Approve Adequate Development Allocation To Avoid The Tragic Death Of Teacher Chan Boon Heng Of SJK© Keat Hwa.

Media Statement
by Lim Guan Eng  

(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): All MCA, MIC, Gerakan and SUPP MPs should support a DAP emergency motion in Parliament next week to discuss the poor conditions of Chinese and Tamil primary schools throughout Malaysia and the need to immediately approve adequate development allocations to avoid the tragic death of teacher Chan Boon Heng of SJK© Keat Hwa. This emergency motion under Parliament Standing Orders 18(1) will be tabled by DAP Education Bureau Chair and MP for Bukit Mertajam Chong Eng when Parliament meets on Monday 19 September 2005.

The amount of RM 50,000 granted by the government for SRJK© Keat Hwa is nothing compared to the RM 95 million spent to send a Malaysian astronaut into space. There is no reason why more money cannot be made immediately available to repair dilapidated schools buildings in danger of collapsing.  The government must set its priorities right – is sending an astronaut at a cost of RM 95 million more important than repairing school buildings for the safety of our children and teachers?


DAP supports all efforts to prevent the tragic death of Chan Boon Heng from repeating by giving emergency allocation to carry out repairs on schools which are damaged or in poor condition. However such stop-gap efforts are only remedial and temporary in nature would not help to provide a permanent solution to the lack of funds faced by Chinese and Tamil  primary schools.


A permanent solution can only be found to avoid more Chan Boon Hengs tragedy is by ensuring that adequate development education funds are institutionalized and given under the forthcoming 9th Malaysian Plan 2006-2010.

Under the 8 th Malaysian Plan 2001-5, RM 6.6 billion has been allocated for primary education. Equality, democracy and justice requires Chinese and Tamil primary schools to respectively receive RM 1.4 billion and RM 240 million under the 2000-5 8th Malaysian Plan based on the number of pupils enrolled which is estimated at 21% and 3.6% respectively for Chinese and Tamil primary schools.

An equitable distribution of the  allocation would mean the  national primary schools would get RM 5 billion or 75%, Chinese primary schools RM 1.4  billion or 21% and Tamil primary schools RM 240 million or 3.6%. The BN government has refused to fully recognize the role and contribution made by mother-tongue as shown by the discriminatory policies in the development allocation for fully and partially aided in 1,287 Chinese and 576 Tamil primary schools. Despite the crying need for new Chinese primary schools, the government has refused to build them in urban areas or provide much needed funding for existing ones.

There are some 60,000 non-Chinese students in the Chinese primary schools in the country, which should have meant the building of some 60 new Chinese primary schools just to cater to this demand - but Chinese primary school enrolment have doubled from 310,000 students in 1957 to over 620,000 students in 2,000, yet the number of Chinese primary schools in the past 43 years has seen a decline of 49 schools!

Under the Seventh Malaysia Plan 1995-2000, national primary schools with 75% of the total primary school enrolment received 96.5% of the allocations, while Chinese primary schools with 21% of the total primary school enrolment was allocated 2.4% while Tamil primary schools with 3.6% of the enrolment allocated one per cent of the total development funds for primary schools for the five-year period. Such discrimination and injustice to Chinese and Tamil primary schools  should be rectified, and allocation be made on the basis of enrolment, i.e. 75% to national primary schools, 21% to Chinese primary schools and 3.6% to Tamil primary schools.


If adequate development allocation can be given, there would be no Chan Boon Heng tragedy and his two young children would not be deprived of a father or their school student deprived of a dedicated and caring teacher.

When I visited the family of Chan Boon Heng in Alor Star, his family hoped that Chan Boon Heng’s sacrifice can help to avoid such tragedies from happening. To ensure Chan Boon Heng did not give his life as a teacher in vain, the government must ensure that adequate funds be given for schools to avoid public unhappiness that  the government cares more about sending that single astronaut into space than providing for safe schools for our teachers and children.



* Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary-General

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