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Unprecedented RM10 salary-cut motion against four - Education Minister, two Deputy Ministers and a Parliamentary Secretary – in one go in Parliament on Monday for not amending 2007 Budget to build 30 new Chinese primary schools and five new Tamil primary schools next year
(Ipoh, Friday) : Two months ago, I had served public notice that there will be a RM10 salary-cut motion for the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, the two Deputy Education Ministers Datuk Hon Choon Kim and Datuk Noh Omar, and the Parliamentary Secretary Komala Devi if the grave injustice of not building new and adequate Chinese and Tamil primary schools in the 2007 Budget is not corrected when Parliament reconvenes in November to debate the Education Ministry estimates during the committee-stage in November.
I have given notice to the Speaker, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah that I will move the unprecedented RM10 salary-cut motion against four front-benchers in one go - the Education Minister, two Deputy Ministers and a Parliamentary Secretary – in Parliament on Monday for their collective neglect and irresponsibility in failing to provide for the building of new Chinese and Tamil primary schools in the 2007 Budget and the Ninth Malaysia Plan to meet educational and increased enrolment needs, such as building 30 new Chinese primary schools and five new Tamil primary schools next year.
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.
But for the past few decades, no Minister or Deputy Education Minister would say it publicly - until 20th September 2006, when the DAP MP for Ipoh Barat, M. Kula Segaran, achieved the feat of forcing the Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Noh Omar to openly admit in Parliament that no new Chinese or Tamil primary schools would be built next year or for the next five years under the Ninth Malaysia Plan during the winding-up of the policy debate on the 2007 Budget.
Although the subsequent national furore over Noh Omar’s admission resulted in the announcement by Hishammuddin for the building of two new Chinese primary schools, it was a real letdown for three reasons:
During Independence in 1957, there were 1,333 Chinese primary schools with a total enrolment of 310,000 students. Nearly 50 years later today, Chinese primary school enrolment has more than doubled to 636,124, which should have been accompanied by the doubling of the number of Chinese primary schools. Instead, there was a decrease of 45 schools from 1,333 to 1,288 Chinese primary schools in the past half-century.
There is now the phenomenon of many new national primary schools with empty classrooms and surplus desks/chairs while Chinese primary schools in highly-populated areas are crammed with student-per-class ratio more than double the Education Ministry’s ideal ratio of 25 pupils per class - having 55 pupils or more per class, which would have justified more classes and new schools to be built.
As the Education Ministry’s budget next year is RM22.2 billion, it is completely unacceptable that there is no provision for building an adequate number of new Chinese and Tamil primary schools.
Are there any MPs from the MCA, Gerakan, MIC and other component parties in Barisan Nasional who are principled enough to stand up in Parliament on Monday to speak what they have so far dared only to whisper privately – that the present education policy in refusing to build new Chinese and Tamil primary schools in accordance with enrolment needs is unfair and unjust, and must be scrapped immediately.
Let me in particular tell the MCA, Gerakan and MIC MPs that if they dare not stand up in Parliament to give open support to the DAP’s call for the building of 30 new Chinese primary schools and five new Tamil primary schools under the 2007 Budget, they should at least shut up and don’t be spoilers and trouble-makers by joining in a parliamentary cacophony to silence DAP MPs from speaking.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman