Tun M: Delay in recognising UEC as Umno is afraid of losing Malay votes

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(Putrajaya 7 Mac) Barisan Nasional government is taking a long time to consider whether to recognise Unified Examination sat by Chinese independent school students as it is fearful of provoking the right wing Malays where the party will lose Malay votes, said Pakatan Harapan chairman and former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir.

“There are extremists in the Chinese education group. Similarly, there are Malay extremists too. By recognising Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), it may lose Malay votes.”

In an exclusive interview with Sin Chew Daily held at his office in Putrajaya, Dr Mahathir said: “When Pakatan Rakyat contested in the 13th General Election, the Malays thought that Pakatan Rakyat are hypocrites and thus Pakatan lost. Now we must win the Malay votes. We can win as we are a Malay political party. We can talk to them. We can explain that this is nothing new. We have accepted certificates from overseas. “

On how Pakatan Harapan would support the development of Chinese education in the country, including building Chinese independent schools and recognition of UEC, Dr Mahathir replied: “Right. However, Chinese independent schools are set up by the Chinese. They want their Chinese education, mainly education from China.”

“We are familiar with oversea certificates. Right from the beginning our education system started with Cambridge University. I took the Cambridge examination in lower secondary school. Now we have many international schools in Malaysia. Malaysians send their children to international schools. Accepting foreign qualification is nothing new.”

“If Chinese is keen to have UEC recognised, then Pakatan Harapan must meet the request.

“Of course we hope more students study in national schools but the schools must be upgraded.”

Mahathir acknowledged that the standard of Chinese schools or even private schools is higher than national schools.

On recognising UEC and how Pakatan Harapan would convince the conservatives, Tun Mahathir said: “I will tell them before this we do not have national certificate. We have Cambridge. Now we even accept Sekolah Pondok (religious schools in rural area).

“Nevertheless we have been very open in the education history. After independence, as we hope everyone uses one language to speak, we drafted the policy to improve Malay language.

“Ultimately, we are open. We will do it if people want us to. If not we will not pursue and we must be democratic. Of course we want to win Chinese votes. They would not vote for us if they do not like us.”