Perkasa is against government recognition of UEC qualification from a racial viewpoint which gives rise to prejudice as they think Chinese independent secondary schools are not in the national mainstream. Extremist organizations also urge the government not to recognize UEC in defence of the national language.
However, it is a shame for a Chinese to oppose government recognition of the UEC and his viewpoint is rather patchy. This unique person in our midst is Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong of UKM Institute of Ethnic Studies. He urged the Government not to recognize UEC because independent Chinese secondary schools are not part of the mainstream education system. This is the voice of a Chinese which is more jarring than that of Perkasa in Chong Sin Woon’s “last-mile journey”.
Teo Kok Seong said government recognition of Chinese independent secondary schools would strengthen the competitiveness of Chinese quota and would be unfair to candidates from national secondary schools because they would face greater competition. He said the Government would betray the people if it recognized UEC.
Dong Jiao Zong has appealed to the Government to recognize UEC so that students from Chinese independent secondary schools could also join local public universities and also the civil service. If graduates of national school are strong enough, why should they be scared of competition? Chinese students have never depended on the quota system to survive. They depend on their skills and capability. When students from the national and independent secondary schools are allowed to pursue the same opportunity for further education, it would be an endorsement for the Chinese community. There should be no divide-and-rule treatment in dealing with national and independent secondary schools students.
If the Government keeps the quota system for the sake of national school students, how then the Government restrict the employment opportunities of returning professionals like doctors, pharmacists, and lawyers? Many of those graduated from international schools would further their education overseas and when they return to serve the country they would sure be competing against the local graduates.
Competition is the cornerstone of progress. The Chinese are a community in quest of excellence and would not ask the Government to give them employment quota. If the Government refused to recognize those with UEC qualification as well as those from international schools and overseas universities to find jobs in the country, they would eventually leave and Malaysia would lose many with talents and skills.
Independent secondary schools have started several decades ago and their graduates have overcome all the challenges without having to rely on government’s recognition of UEC. There are so many UEC-qualified students who become successful professionals. They are in no way inferior to national schools graduates. They have high standard and some become prominent figures in society.
Prof Teo Kok Seong has twisted the call for the recognition of UEC to an attempt by independent Chinese schools to seize university quota of national school students and his claim that national school students are loyal to the national education system is extremely absurd. Chinese independent school students may not be in line with the national education system, they are absolutely not disloyal to the system of the nation. They are just not being recognized by the government.
When Dong Jiao Zong appeals for government recognition of UEC, the government also has the right to lay down such condition as UEC candidates must also pass SPM Bahasa subject. It was reported that Dong Jiao Zong refuses to compromise on this issue which makes the “last mile” even farther away. Now with the call by Perkasa for public opposition of government recognition of UEC, compounded by some Chinese professionals joining the opposition side, the last mile has become even more challenging.
While everyone has the right to freedom of expression, it is inappropriate for a senior member of the Chinese society and one with outstanding status to tell the other race something unfavourable to his own race . It is a betrayal to his own race. Besides opposing the recognition of UEC, it pains us to note that Teo Kok Seong has also criticized Chinese attitude towards the national language. He is unhappy because the Chinese has been too strong in defending the Chinese language.
Actually, some Chinese are excellent in the national language while of course, some are not so good and need improvement. Because the Chinese have been protective of the Chinese language, Chinese schools have shown brilliant performances which make the community proud. We don’t understand why our Teo Kok Seong has found the existence of Chinese schools so uncomfortable.
Actually, the Chinese are proud that Teo Kok Seong has been appointed to a senior position in the UKM research institute and can speak excellent Bahasa in public address. However, it is such a shame that he spoke unfavorably against Chinese independent secondary schools at the Perkasa forum.
His views have strengthen Perkasa’s argument in calling the government to reject the recognition of UEC and have made all efforts by Dong Jiao Zong in vain. Dong Jiao Zong has made their utmost efforts to cover the thorny last mile, Chong Sin Woon has done his job and Chinese independent secondary school students would have to soldier on. Meanwhile, Teo Kok Seong has become the hero in opposing the recognition of UEC. His “contribution” in this respect is indelible.