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Serving notice of a RM10
salary-cut motion for Education Minister, Hishammuddin and two Deputy
Education Ministers Hon Choon Kim and Noh Omar if the grave injustice of not
building any new Chinese and Tamil primary schools under Ninth Malaysia Plan
not corrected when Parliament reconvenes in November for committee-stage
passage of 2007 Budget
(Parliment, Saturday) : This is to serve public notice that there will be a RM10 salary-cut motion for the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the two Deputy Education Ministers Datuk Hon Choon Kim and Datuk Noh Omar if the grave injustice of not building any new Chinese and Tamil primary schools in the 2007 Budget and Ninth Malaysia Plan is not corrected when Parliament reconvenes in November for committee-stage passage of 2007 Budget.
In his reply to the DAP MP for Ipoh Barat, M. Kulasegaran on behalf of the Education Ministry in the winding-up of the policy debate on the 2007 Budget on Wednesday, Noh Omar said no new Chinese or Tamil primary schools would be built next year or for the next five years under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
This is a blatant and flagrant injustice to the increasing number of parents who want to send their children to Chinese and Tamil primary schools but who face the problem of not enough school places and schools in their respective areas.
The Education Minister had announced the Ninth Malaysia Plan policy to strengthen national schools to be the school of choice of Malaysian parents, but this must not be implemented by creating new injustices or aggravating existing injustices, through the neglect, discrimination and marginalization of Chinese and Tamil primary schools such as refusing to build any new Chinese and Tamil primary schools for the next five years despite urgent and pressing need.
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 almost double the Education Ministry’s ideal ratio of 30 pupils per class - having 55 pupils or more per class, which would have justified e more classes and new schools to be built.
Just to deal with the backlog of pressing needs for Chinese school places, and to keep to the Education Ministry’s ratio of 30 pupils per class, over 300 new Chinese primary schools would have to be built.
During the winding-up of the Ninth Malaysia Plan, when queried by the DAP MP for Bukit Mertajam, Chong Eng, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had specifically made two promises with regard to Chinese and Tamil primary schools: firstly, that new schools would be built according to need and secondly, that the government would act in accordance with the concept of justice.
Both these assurances by the Prime Minister have been violated when Noh Omar revealed on Wednesday that there would be no new Chinese or Tamil primary schools under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
What I find shocking is that there was indifference from the MCA, Gerakan, MIC and SUPP MPs when Noh made the revelation in Parliament, as not a single one of their MPs – including MCA Youth MPs – had stood up with DAP MPs to express protest and outrage at such injustice and continued neglect, discrimination and marginalization of Chinese and Tamil primary schools.
It would appear that the MCA, Gerakan, MIC and SUPP Ministers and MPs had known beforehand that there is no plan to build any Chinese and Tamil primary schools for the next five years under the Ninth Malaysia Plan and had accepted this injustice.
However, when the shocking news that the Ninth Malaysia Plan has no provision to build any Chinese and Tamil primary schools went out to the public, creating widespread public uproar and outrage that there is not a single Chinese and Tamil primary school among the 180 new primary schools which the Prime Minister had himself announced when the Ninth Malaysia Plan was tabled in Parliament on March 31, 2006, Barisan Nasional MPs – in particular MCA Youth MPs – have been forced to put up a “show” by feigning belated outrage and demanding an explanation by the Education Minister!
MCA Youth leader Datuk Liow Tiong Lai, who is Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports, said yesterday that MCA Youth opposed Noh Omar’s statement that the Education Ministry will not build any Chinese primary school under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, and that he would meet with the Education Minister to talk about the matter.
This is most dishonest, as if Noh Omar was speaking on his own behalf, when he was answering on behalf of Hishammudin and even his colleague Hon.
I don’t think anyone is optimistic about the outcome of the meeting between Liow and Hishammuddin, particularly bearing in mind the Education Minister’s arrogance and contempt when dealing with Liow’s predecessor as MCA Youth leader, Datuk Ong Tee Kiat over the scandal of RM30,000 Kung Fu Chinese primary school’s repair contract producing only RM3,000 value of work – which had proven Ong to be right.
Even more shocking was that the MCA Deputy Education Minister, Hon Choon Kim sided with Hishammuddin against Ong Tee Kiat over the issue of “leakages”, abuse of funds and breach of trust in the RM10 million allocation for 114 Chinese primary schools, 71 Tamil schools and 25 primary schools approved last October after the tragic and totally unnecessary death of SJKC Keat Hwa (near Alor Star) teacher, Chan Boon Heng, 42, who died of internal injuries after falling through rotting termite-infested floorboards last September.
Up to now, Hishammuddin still owe Ong a fulsome apology.
However, the question the MCA Youth leaders must answer is why they had kept silent for the past few months when they knew that no new Chinese primary school would be built under the Ninth Malaysia Plan – as MCA has four Cabinet Ministers as well as a Deputy Education Minister!
Justice and fair play for Chinese and Tamil primary schools are too important to be political playthings of Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs – as waiting until the next general election for the promise of a handful of new Chinese primary schools to be built to become “election goodies” to fish for votes as happened in past general elections.
The Cabinet, and in particular the MCA, Gerakan, MIC and SUPP Ministers, should immediately rectify such a grave injustice to Chinese and Tamil primary schools by ensuring a systematic plan to build new Chinese and Tamil primary schools under the Ninth Malaysia Plan - at least 200 new Chinese primary schools from now to 2010 or 40 new Chinese primary school in every annual budget of the five- year plan.
Similarly, new Tamil primary schools must also be built every year under the Ninth Malaysia Plan to meet the increasing enrolment demands of parents.
DAP MPs are therefore giving clear and ample public notice of RM10 salary-cut motion for the trio, Hishammuddin, Hon and Noh Omar if the grave injustice of not building any new Chinese and Tamil primary schools in the 2007 Budget and Ninth Malaysia Plan is not corrected when Parliament reconvenes in November for committee-stage passage of 2007 Budget.