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DAP MP for Ipoh Barat Kulasegeran must be thanked for cornering Noh Omar to reveal BN policy of not building any new Chinese and Tamil primary schools, forcing Hishammuddin to announce two new Chinese primary schools under Ninth Malaysia Plan
(Parliament, Thursday) : The announcement by the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein that two new Chinese primary schools will be built under the Ninth Malaysia Plan – namely SJKC Tun Tan Siew Sin in Putra Heights, Selangor and SJKC Kulai (2) in Johore – have raised more questions than answers.
However, the first general public reaction to Hishammuddin’s announcement is: “Phew, the public uproar and pressure of the past one week that no Chinese and Tamil primary schools would be built under the Ninth Malaysia Plan had achieved results with the announcement by Hishammuddin!”
The second response is who should be thanked – is it Hishammuddin for his announcement, Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew for his recent comment on the marginalization of the Chinese in Malaysia which had created a furore among Barisan Nasional leaders or Noh Omar for his revelation in Parliament last Wednesday that no Chinese and Tamil primary schools would be built under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
I believe the person who should be thanked for forcing this issue into the public domain should be the DAP MP for Ipoh Barat M. Kulasegaran who cornered Noh Omar to reveal the Education Ministry’s Ninth Malaysia Plan agenda and turned it into a public issue.
It is the unstated policy of the Education Ministry not to build new Chinese and Tamil primary schools under the five-year plans to meet the enrolment and educational needs of school children whose parents want them to be in these schools – the only exception is when the issue is used to fish for votes during general elections with the promises of a handful of new Chinese primary schools.
I had censured Nor Omah many times in and out of Parliament, whether as Deputy Internal Security Minister, Deputy Education Minister or as a backbencher for his unreasonable and sometimes loutish behaviour, but I do not think it is fair or right to put the blame on Noh Omar in this case, where is taking the rap or to use the Cantonese lingo “eat dead cat” when the fault is clearly not his.
I find the explanation by Hishammuddin that Noh Omar did not know that two new Chinese primary schools would be built under the Ninth Malaysia Plan completely most unbelievable and unacceptable, which reflects even more adversely on Hishammuddin as Education Minister than on Noh Omar as Deputy Education Minister.
If Noh Omar did not know, why is the MCA Deputy Education Minister Datuk Hon Choon Kim also in the dark about new Chinese primary schools to be built under Ninth Malaysia Plan?
And why were Hishammuddin and the four MCA Ministers silent for a week if it had already been decided that two new Chinese primary schools would be built under the Ninth Malaysia Plan?
When it is realized that SJCK Kulai (2) in Johore is not a new Chinese primary schools, but a relocated Chinese primary school which had been promised in the past seven years before the 1999 general election, and the question is asked whether the SJK© Tun Tan Siew Sin is a Wawasan School, Hishammuddin’s announcement takes on a different hue and character.
Clearly there are no two new Chinese primary schools to be built under the Ninth Malaysia Plan as announced by Hishammuddin, but at most one. But is this all that the Chinese community and the Malaysian people can expect for new Chinese primary schools under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, when increased enrolment needs as well as the Education Ministry’s latest announcement of the standard class size of 25 pupils to a class would require the building of 200 to 300 new Chinese primary schools for the next five years?
Furthermore, why didn’t Hishammuddin make any announcement about the building of new Tamil primary schools under the Ninth Malaysia Plan?
I am still waiting for the MIC President and Works Minister, Datuk Seri Samy Vellu to produce his fictitious list of 21 new Tamil primary schools built under the Eighth Malaysia Plan, which are entirely new schools and not relocated new schools or new school buildings in old schools. If there is such a list of 21 entirely new Tamil primary schools built under the Eighth Malaysia Plan, why is Samy Vellu finding it so difficult to produce it?
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman