President of the United Chinese School Committees’ Association (Dong Zong) Lau Lee Ming said recently that Dong Zong had sent a letter to the Prime Minister Najib on August 29, hoping that the government would allow Dong Zong to set up a Chinese Independent high school in Kajang.
He hoped the prime minister would approve the application as soon as possible in order to relieve the problem of over capacity of students in some of the areas in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, and more importantly, to cultivate more multi-lingual professionals in enhancing the competitiveness of the country.
According to report, the number of students in Chinese independent high school continues to grow over the last 15 years with 85,199 students in 2017, an increase of 32,349 students from 52,850 students in 2003 or 61.21% increment.
In Klang Valley, there are thousands of Standard Six primary school students graduated annually, due to the lack of hardware and facilities in Chinese independent high schools, they are unable to further their study in these schools, so it is quite clear that Chinese independent high schools in Klang Valley are unable to meet the demand, and the schools are also unable to take in more students.
Cheras and Kajang are the two areas in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor where Chinese are densely populated, but they have no Chinese independent high school and the distance of Chinese independent high schools in other areas are too far away. Thus, students wish to study in Chinese independent high school are forced to move to area near to the school, or spending hours in travelling daily.
Lau Lee Ming also said that once Dong Zong’s application is approved, the new Chinese independent high school in Kajang will be completely attached to Dong Zong, which is to be managed as well as administered by Dong Zong with full authority, and to become a national model Chinese independent high school.
In other word, the Chinese independent high school attached to Dong Zong will only sit for the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) exam and not taking up the government examination; and it will help Dong Zong to nurture teachers for Chinese independent high schools and enhance the training of teachers, in order to solve the problem of shortage of teachers in some of the Chinese schools; the curriculum will also be designed to be more suitable for today’s Chinese independent high school education direction and philosophy.
On this, Parti Gerakan Malaysia and I fully support Dong Zong’s application for setting up a Chinese independent high school in Kajang, as a breakthrough to the limitation of 60 Chinese independent high schools has been the expectation of majority of the Chinese community for years. Due to the “negotiated consensus” over the years, in the past Chinese educationists have been advocating flexible approach in dealing with the expansion of Chinese independent high schools, for example the SM Chong Hwa, Kuantan and the branch school of Foon Yew High School.
However, in striving for the development of the Chinese education, we have to be careful and sensitive to the handling of Chinese education, especially issue regarding Chinese independent high school which is prone to be controversial. After all, the situation in Malaysia is not advisable for a single ethnic group to make endless demands.
Although earlier Dong Zong has urged the government and oppositions to support Chinese independent high schools as well as to recognize the UEC, this clearly indicates Dong Zong’s attitude of treating the matter as a case for study without reflection on any particular political party.
But people tend to think that this is a “political appeal” as Dong Zong has raised the matter of setting up additional Chinese independent high school at this crucial moment of which the general election is just around the corner.
Therefore, I hope Dong Zong leadership learns from the experience in the last general election. When the Prime Minister has yet to announce the recognition of UEC, just three days before the election was held, Dong Zong leadership declared publicly that it was disappointed with the Barisan Nasional government and urged the electorates to support oppositions, leading to the recognition of UEC to have failed on the verge of success.
Gerakan is solution oriented; it will continue to arrange for meetings between non-Chinese educational groups and Dong Zong as well as the Chinese education groups, to enable other education groups to have deeper understanding on the history of Chinese independent high schools, its future demand and also the role led by Dong Zong.
At the same time, it will also put more efforts in arranging for more liberal leaders in Umno to meet up with Dong Zong and other Chinese education groups. It has arranged earlier on for Umno information Chief Tan Sri Annuar to visit Dong Zong in resolving internal resistance from the party in furtherance of building additional Chinese schools. We hope through the maintenance of racial harmony and social sensitivity in Malaysia, we can also lead the Chinese independent high school education into a new milestone.
Good news coming soon
Meanwhile, Lau Lee Ming also mentioned that the central government should not delay any more in recognizing the UEC; officials from Ministry of Higher Education and Education Ministry have been harping on the matter in newspapers and Parliament, showing the insincerity of the government in the recognition of the UEC.
Dong Zong has always been embracing the stand of above the political parties but not above politics, Dong Zong welcomes political parties from across the divide to incorporate in their party platform and general election manifesto the fair and equitable treatment of Chinese education policy, and to fulfill the promise of recognizing UEC during their tenure of administration.
What I want to express is Gerakan is making efforts to strive for BN consensus so that UEC will be recognized in a few months’ time and also to solve a few problems on Chinese education. In fact, BN government is always sincere in solving various Chinese education issues, particularly after Najib took over as the prime minister, he is quite open minded in dealing with Chinese education problems.
BN especially Gerakan knew very well that the recognition of UEC has been the long-cherished wish of the Chinese community, so we are following up on this matter with much efforts. Under the leadership of the prime minister, we have seen the dawn; we are now striving for the consensus in BN so that UEC will be recognized in a few months’ time and to solve a few problems on Chinese education.
Therefore, I call on the Chinese community not to place their hope on Pakatan Harapan to fight for the recognition of the UEC, as Pakatan only offers lip service; it has no sense of doing things at all. Take the flood havoc in Penang last week as an example, before DAP came into power, it had boastfully said that flood problem would be solved in just one term once it formed the state government, but in actual fact the flood situation now is worse than before.
Pakatan leaders especially the DAP has all the while politicized the education issue, and even promised to recognize UEC in order to fish for Chinese votes, but actually there is no agenda involving the recognition of UEC in Pakatan’s party platform.
I hope the Chinese community does give Gerakan some time, so that Gerakan can strive for BN’s consensus. Gerakan is confident that the “durian” will drop in front of the door step of the Chinese community very soon.