Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) would have been recognised if Pakatan Harapan government had governed for five years as was its mandate instead of being toppled in 22 months by the Sheraton Move conspiracy

The United Examination Certificate (UEC) would have been recognised if the Pakatan Harapan government had governed for five years as was its mandate instead of being toppled in 22 months by the Sheraton Move conspiracy.

At the DAP national retreat held in early 2019 attended by DAP leaders and Members of Parliament, the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was asked this question and his answer gave confidence that the UEC would be recognised before the conclusion of the five-year government of Pakatan Harapan.

This thought came up when I received a copy of a FreeMalaysiaToday (FMT) report in 2017 relaying auditor Farar Halijah Halim’s testimony that Chinese primary schools were not seedbeds of racialism promoting anti-Malay sentiments but patriotic crucibles promoting national unity which should be a must reading for all Malaysians who want to go against the Constitution and close down Chinese primary schools.

The FMC report with the headline “Chinese schools promote unity, says Malay UEC grad” by Nawar Firdaws datelined Feb. 4, 2017, reported:

“PETALING JAYA: Farah Halijah Halim, 29, says that contrary to what some Malaysians say, Chinese schools in her opinion, promote unity among the various races in Malaysia.

“Farah told FMT of her first-hand experience, relating how her primary and secondary school education in Chinese schools had taught her how to interact better with those of other races.

“’In a way, it (Chinese school education) taught me the value of acceptance. Instead of demanding people respect and understand my needs, I learnt how to tolerate other people’s points of view as well.’

“She said her non-Malay peers were also sensitive about the halal and haram aspect of Islam and were genuinely curious about how Malays lived.

“’Some asked about the religious aspects (of Muslims), like the need to wear a tudung (headscarf) and why we need to fast.’

“She said she was also mindful of the fact that her Chinese education meant she would have to learn Mandarin, a language she can speak fluently today as well as Cantonese, which she picked up from her Chinese friends in school.

“Farah said everyone at school mingled freely with those of other races, proving wrong opponents of vernacular schools, who claimed that anything other than national schools failed to promote unity among multiracial Malaysians.

“’It’s the same as going to expensive international schools, right? Does that mean that international schools do not promote unity by segregating the rich from the poor?

“’And what proof do we have that national schools really promote unity among the races?

“’At Foon Yew (Chinese school), they preach the ‘Foon Yew people’ principle, where students are taught not to discriminate against those of other races. Everyone is equal.’

“So enriching was her education at SJKC Foon Yew, one of the largest independent Chinese schools in Malaysia, that Farah emerged as one of the top students of the class of 2005.

“’I was the valedictorian as well as the class representative. To get such a recognition was an honour.

“It was a big school and over 1,000 students graduated that year. I was selected as the student speaker for the graduation ceremony,’ she told FMT, reminiscing with great pride her student days.”

Farar graduated from Cardiff University, one of the top universities worldwide. Farah was a qualified auditor in one of the largest auditing firms in the world, Ernst & Young, otherwise known as EY.

Despite the difficulty she faced with her UEC qualification, Farah said she did not regret her experience, especially as it equipped her with all the skills she needed to be a success in life.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri