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Chinese educationists must thank Umno

I refer to the report Anwar takes on BN gov't over Chinese education and the current controversy regarding MCA's request for more SRJK(C) schools in its 9th Malaysia Plan memorandum to the prime minister.

Anwar Ibrahim has left me breathless by his sheer hypocrisy and his grandstanding on behalf of Chinese education. When he was minister of education he barked a totally different tune.

Anwar knows that his policies, performance and proclivity in several ministerial posts - including, of course, education - have made his self-acclaimed reformist stand very dodgy, hypocritical and plain unbelievable.

It has been precisely people like Anwar who set the rot in our educational system. This fact makes his gall in pretending to champion Chinese education all the more bitter if not revolting.

Anwar and his education ministerial predecessors and successors treated Malaysian education like a political-communal-nationalistic football for their own political interest.

In those days, virtually every Umno aspirant for the prime ministerial post (after Tunku Abdul Rahman and Abdul Razak) had striven to serve as the education minister for the purpose of capturing large tracts of grassroots support through the nationwide network of teachers.

The education portfolio was then a mandatory stepping stone to the prime minster's office.

There was a time when Chinese schools were facing an enrolment crisis, with most Chinese parents preferring to send their children to English-medium schools. Those Chinese schools were more or less placed on the endangered list of species.

Quite frankly, had the educational system not been mucked about by Anwar and his ilk, Chinese schools might have faded away, and we would not have this debate today.

But once the political kicking of the educational soccer ball began, Chinese parents witnessed the plummeting standards of the national schools with great alarm. Education has been, is and will be one of the central pillars of Chinese culture. The only alternative was the Chinese-medium schools.

When one has a goose that lays an increasing number of golden pupils, one should certainly feed and look after the goose well. Chinese educationists and their schools did this and till today have not wasted any effort or time laying it on thick to impress the parents.

They have the most dedicated principals, teachers, parent-teachers associations and fund-raising programmes, and they work exceedingly hard to produce excellent standards. They have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Ironically thanks to Umno.

Solid standards have been why an increasing number of non-Chinese parents have opted for these Chinese schools. Mind you, the Chinese schools are not above a little politicking of their own by their enthusiastic welcome of non-Chinese students.

They encourage and accept them eagerly with open arms to enhance their role as Malaysian rather than Chinese educators.

It has always been - and still is - the standards and not the alleged chauvinistic feelings that make Chinese-medium schools to be so much in demand.

The truth has been out there all this while.

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