Most Read
Most Commented
Read more like this
New Chinese schools a major MCA breakthrough

COMMENT | The recent announcement of the setting up of 10 new Chinese primary schools and relocation of six Chinese primary schools is a major MCA political breakthrough and an acknowledgement of the Constitutional rights and place of Chinese vernacular schools in our mainstream education.

MCA is proud and thankful to Putrajaya under the premiership of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak for his political courage to acknowledge the continuous development of Chinese primary vernacular schools at a time whereby extreme rightists are clamouring for the closure of such vernacular schools and for them to be replaced with a single national type educational system.

In the past, Najib who was the Education Minister had amended the Education Act 1966 and asserted that the existence of Chinese schools should not be questioned anymore.

He had gone one step further to remove the Education Minister's powers to close down Chinese schools provided by the Act by abolishing this right. In the spirit of the Federal Constitution, he had also guaranteed the continued existence of these schools.

In 2014, Najib in his capacity as Umno president stood his ground on the right to Chinese education by disallowing the proposal by Umno PJ Utara division chief Mohamad Azli Mohemed Saad calling for the Umno general assembly to discuss the abolishment of Chinese vernacular schools.

Najib not only disallowed the proposal to discuss the abolishment of Chinese Schools but he has also publicly asserted and reassured the Chinese community of the continuous existence and recognition of the schools. These assurances were given against the political tide at that moment whereby extremists were pressuring and threatening him from within the party.

MCA is glad and further acknowledges Najib's steadfast and consistent leadership stand on the issue of Chinese education that is close to MCA’s and the community’s hearts. Najib's continuous reassurances of the rights and existence of Chinese primary schools were made under a political climate that is adverse to him. 

Despite heavy criticism by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad for ending the New Economic Policy and undermining by former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin on his 1Malaysia policy, Najib continues to walk the talk of moderation and inclusiveness with his head high up.

The latest announcement of the approval of the setting up of 10 new Chinese Schools and the relocation of another six is proof that the government under the leadership of Najib is sincere and will continue to be constitutionally compliant.

MCA is happy that the prime minister did not cave into demands for the closure of Chinese schools. Unlike Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim's hostility towards Chinese education while in power, Najib's political leadership is one of continuing recognition and development of Chinese education by adopting a policy of inclusiveness and moderation.

On our part, MCA will continue with our efforts of continuing our positive and constructive efforts to defend and fight for the recognition of the rights of minorities to mother tongue education. We will achieve this by participating from within to ensure that the government will always be constitutionally compliant whereby all rights and liberties under the Federal Constitution will be respected, upheld and adhered to.

TI LIAN KER is MCA central committee member and religious harmony bureau chairperson.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

Please join the Malaysiakini WhatsApp Channel to get the latest news and views that matter.