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Gerakan’s kow-towing to UMNO Youth’s demands with disciplinary action against S. Paranjothy despite his speaking the truth shows that Gerakan does not dare to say “No” to UMNO, especially in the next constituency delineation exercise increasing the number of UMNO seats from 15 to 20 out of 40 state seats


Speech at DAP Bagan Dinner

by Lim Guan Eng



(Penang, Saturday): Gerakan’s immediate kow-towing to UMNO Youth’s demands with disciplinary action against Gerakan Youth Vice-President S. Paranjothy despite his speaking the truth shows that Gerakan does not dare say “No” to UMNO, especially in the next constituency delineation exercise after the next general elections. UMNO is intent on obtaining half the state seats, which means 20 out of the current 40 states seats or in the event of any additional seats 50% of the total number of seats.

UMNO contested in all 15 majority state seats and hold 14 after losing one seat to PAS in the 2004 general elections. UMNO has signaled its intentions of having a greater say in its already dominant role in the state government and what better way than to change the political landscape in Penang by increasing the number of seats it can contest. Should UMNO achieve equal parity of seats, this will change the entire political calculus and power equation in the state.

Public expectations are that neither Gerakan nor MCA have the courage to say “No” to UMNO’s demands. This is most evident when Gerakan Acting President Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon immediately referred its National Youth vice-chairman, S. Paranjothy, to the disciplinary board either to be suspended or expelled for allegedly making racially-sensitive remarks against UMNO after UMNO Youth President Hishamuddin Tun Hussein Onn threatened to sever ties with Gerakan.

Paranjothy spoke the truth that UMNO incites racial sentiments among their community in a petty attempt to further their political career. Is Paranjothy wrong when he said that Indians are treated as fourth-class citizens where the Indians predominate over their fellow Malaysians is mostly in prison, violent crimes, gangsterism, suicide and social ills?

Koh considers Paranjothy’s statement racist that required action to be taken but not Hishamuddin’s kris-waving threats against the non-Malays. Did Paranjothy wave any parang? Why did Koh not press for action to be taken against Hishamuddin?

More importantly are the questions that if Koh as Acting Gerakan President can not even face an UMNO Youth leader like Hishamuddin to defend his own member, can he say “No” to UMNO’s top leadership when the rights of people of Penang are adversely affected. For this reason the people must restore a strong DAP opposition of at least 14 members by denying BN its two third majority in the Penang State Assembly to preserve and protect their rights against further encroachment from UMNO.

Does Koh Tsu Koon have the ability to use his powers as Chief Minister and follow the Prime Minister’s example by giving RM 23.5 million to one school?

DAP can not understand why MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting is proud instead of being ashamed when he announced that the government will give a RM 10 million New Year 'bonus' to 33 Chinese primary, secondary and independent schools on 31.12.2007. This RM 10 million New Year bonus is small fry when compared to the special RM23.5 million development allocation granted to only one school, Bukit Mertajam High School by the Prime Minister under the 9MP?

Ong has only the right to feel proud when he can succeed in getting RM 23.5 million for one Chinese school. The RM 23.5 million development sums for one single school are even larger than the developments funds offered for all 96 Chinese primary schools in Penang under the 9MP. Clearly this is a general election ploy to win votes in the coming general elections. If the government is sincere in helping out Chinese schools then granting funds should be based on needs on a yearly basis and not only during general elections once every 5 years.

Compared to what one single school can get (RM 23.5 million), Ong should be ashamed of himself that so many schools have to share a miserly RM 23.5 million. The Chinese community knows that the government is only giving money now to buy votes in preparation for the general elections.

In January 2007, Prime Minister, Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced that the government is allocating RM 20 million under the 9MP for the redevelopment of his alma mater BMHS in Penang, to build a new hostel, teachers’ quarters, a sports pavilion and a laboratory. There’s an additional RM3.5 million for the restoration work for the block of the BMHS.

Whilst DAP does not begrudge the use of public funds to invest in education, questions are asked what is so special about BMHS that it gets singled out for such a special allocation of RM 23.5 million, which is not available to other schools. MCA can not even obtain RM 23.5 million in development funds for all the 96 Chinese primary schools in Penang under the 9MP. Why is it Chinese primary schools which are in dire need of development funds for new Chinese primary schools not treated equally?

Development allocation to Chinese primary schools and Tamil primary schools is a lowly RM 174.3 million and RM 64.8 million under the 9th Malaysian Plan out of a total of RM 4,837.3 million. For Chinese primary schools, this is only 3.6% of the total allocation even though they comprise 21.2% of the total primary school enrolment as shown by the table below.

Total number of primary school students in 2005 and development allocation under the Ninth Malaysian Plan



All primary schools

National primary schools

% of total

Chinese primary schools

% of total

Tamil primary schools

% of total

Total no. of students 








9MP development allocation (RM millions)








RM per student for 5 years








RM per student per month










Based on number of schools, all the 96 Chinese primary schools in Penang should receive RM 15 million of development funds under the 9MP, which is less than the RM 23.5 million given to one school. Despite such injustices, neither MCA nor Gerakan has spoken out against such discrimination against Chinese primary schools. Does Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon have the ability to use his powers as Chief Minister and follow the Prime Minister’s example by giving RM 23.5 million to one Chinese school?

Justice and fairness requires Chinese and Tamil primary schools to receive RM 1,025.5 million (21.2%) and RM 154.8 million (3.2%) respectively based on student population. However (as the table shows), Chinese primary schools only receive RM 174.3 million or 3.6% (a shortfall of RM 851.2 million) and Tamil primary schools RM 64.8 million or 1.3% of the total development allocation for primary schools under the 9MP.

How discriminatory the treatment towards Chinese primary schools can be shown when the development allocation works out to only RM 4.50 per Chinese primary school student per month as compared to RM 33.30 per student per month for each national primary school student? The Chinese community can not be faulted for asking BN and MCA to explain why a national primary school student should receive more than 7 times in development funds than a Chinese primary school student if everyone is a Malaysian citizen enjoying equal political rights.


* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP

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