The idea of a single national school system that allows for elements from vernacular school system is an excellent proposal they could not argued against. The only possible reactions from them are by being stubborn and using ludicrous arguments.
Now that they are in menggelabah and defenseless mode, let me "put it to them (you)" that they have no right to demand Government to take responsibility for their vernacular school. Right or wrong?
If they continue to resist this idea without a better counter proposal and insist Government preserve and sustain foreign-originated vernacular schools for immigrant descendents, then Government should give priority for the establishment of vernacular schools for the natives of Sabah and Sarawak?
Mukhriz touched on this in a TV program at Astro Awani last Wednesday. The natives of Sabah and Sarawak have equal rights to preserve and sustain the language of their community. Their Bumiputera status accord them more priority over the foreign language vernacular schools.
Since Pakatan Rakyat politicians are exploiting the claimed infringement of the "20 Point Agreement" and drumming anti-federalism sentiment in the East Malaysian states for votes, why are they silence on this? They know what it means.
Lets talk of RIGHTS, RIGHTS and nothing else but RIGHTS. And, hold back any talk on IMPLEMENTATION or economic realities or global senarios.
Sedition law does not prohibit questioning or giving proposals on the implementation of Government policies as long the act is not done in a manner to provoke racial sentiments and incite domestic security.
For DAP Chairman, Lim Kit Siang to demand and Dapsy to make police reports for the application of the Sedition Act on Mukhriz exposed glaringly Kit Siang's so-called struggle for civil liberties as farce. Lets just look at Singapore's record.
How hypocritical can it be for a repeat offender to demand such? For Kit Siang who has a long history with Sedition Act and ISA, it is has become his second nature to utter insensitive words against the legitimate Malay constitutional rights and interest
Although some media (i.e. Malaysian Insider) put words into his mouth, Mukhriz did not seek abolishment of vernacular school. He request to stop the wrongly interpreted rhetorics on Ketuanan Melayu by non-Malay politicians and invited all to solve racial polarisation. In this respect, he proposed to unify the school systems into a single national school that teaches languages to all and promote racial integration from schooling days.
The response of the coalition of Chinese Schools' Association of Teachers and United Chinese School Teachers Association of Malaysia, UCSTAM and UCSCAM is an expected rejection. But the excuse given was the proposal would affect racial unity.
This is a manifestation of the product of vernacular school system; the kiasu mentality of the verbally incompetent and brute mannerism of Ah Beng, our neighbourhood pirate VCD sellers.
Setting It Straight
The rights for vernacular schools is described in Article 152 of the Constitution for National Language and it only defines individual rights. The Government is not obliged to support vernacular schools but it is done out of tolerance and for sake of racial unity.
Refering to the earlier posting, the naturalised Malaysian of Chinese and Indians immigrant descendents have individual rights, as stated in Article 152 (1a) of the Constitution, to not be "prohibited or prevented from using (otherwise than for official purposes), or from teaching or learning, any other language."
This is consistent with the UN Charter on Human Rights usually argued by Chinese school activist, Dr Kua Kia Soong and Dong Jiao Zhong.
However, Article 152 (1b) of the Constitution stated that the Government may help to "preserve and sustain the use and study" of other languages. Since no two words mean the same in law, the term study and learn differs in meaning.
A former Court of Appeal Judge, Dato Mohd Nor as expressed in a seminar, is of the opinion that the term "study" is specific for generating knowledge like research or establishing a Chinese Study Department in University. "Preserve and sustain" merely implies that that its usage is to "keep it as it is."
Thus, the right for vernacular school is weak in the Constitution and even Government role is only for a specific role. The Government has no responsibility to promote the other language-based school system for private individual prerogative to "using (otherwise than for official purposes), or from teaching or learning."
Monument of Intolerance, Defiance, and Broken Promise
Out of political expediancy, the Government allowed the national school system to go concurrent with other streams; Islamic schools, Chinese vernacular schools, Tamil vernacular schools, and Christian missionary schools.
In the earlier days of Malaya, the Chinese and Indians pleaded time with the excuse of adjustment by citing certain social hindrances. The post-13 May 1969 National Operation Council (NOC) emergency government wanted to expediate its abolishment but they requested for more time again by using political excuses. The compromise is to conform to a single syllabus.
After vernacular school were given acknowledgement in the Education Act in the 80s, vernacular school activists became insensitively more demanding and assertive. How could the MCA Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong claim that vernacular school is part of the local educational landscape and to be left untouched. It is supposed to be long gone.
The recent episode shows that the vernacular school is a symbol of intolerance, defiance against national integration, and perpetuation of segregation. It is a living monument the non-Bumiputera communities broke their promise to be a United Malaysian Nation (Bangsa Malaysia) upon receiving their citizenship.
It is unthinkable for a nation to maintain to have many concurrent formal national school systems. There is no precedent in any part of the world to preserve vernacular school system that is historically a foreign-originated school system for children of returning immigrants.
There is no constitutional basis for Government's continual support other than political compromises by UMNO and insidious self-interest understanding by immigrant descendents-based political parties.
Preserving Sabah and Sarawak Natives Culture
If the communities of descendents of immigrants refuse to integrate and are adamant to insist Malaysian remain divided by language, religion, living area, school, place of occupation, and types of occupation, lets be honest enough to formalised segregation.
After all, calls for National Unity is merely sloganeering and tokenism. It is in fact calls for segregationism much favoured by the vernacualar school proponents. It means we unite at some higher formalised level for ceremonies.
Other than the special position of Islamic Schools, the Chinese and Indians are given budget beyond their constitutionally define rights to be given only for "use and study." For the Christian Missionary schools, Government budget is only if they teach secular subject. It could be interpreted as unlawful under Article 12 (2) to allocate Government budget for schools teaching theology other than Islam.
In that case, let all natives of Sabah and Sarawak preserve their cultural identity like the Chinese and Indians and have vernacular school (in their own mother tongue) too. It will significantly help their children to acquire knowledge and living skills. In fact, it is constitutionally justified!
Currently, the natives of Sabah and Sarawak are only accorded budget for language classes in certain national-type schools. In the interior, even access to such educational facilities are still limited. Since these two states are future sources of national wealth in oil and gas, they have every and more right to have their vernacular school.
Malay is mentioned some 54 times in the Constitution and other races are not specifically mentioned except in the Article defining natives. The Constitution used the term "other communites" or "natives of Sabah and Sarawak" to described races other than Malay. Thats to highlight the relevence of Malay thats an enshrined in the Constitution. And, thats Ketuanan Melayu or Malay political heritage!
The Bumiputera of Sabah and Sarawak may felt deprived for administratively being categorised as "others" but they are constitutionally provided in Article 153. The article stated that like Malays, they have special rights and their rights are safeguarded by the King with due consideration for non Bumiputera interests.
Malays are defined in Article 160 "as one who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom" and with certain parental and date of birth conditions. Whilst, Article 161 defines "the native of Sarawak and Sabah".
Save for the various conditions stated, Sarawak natives are the Bukitans, Bisayahs, Dusuns, Sea Dayaks, Land Dayaks, Kadayans, Kalabit, Kayans, Kenyags (including Sabups and Sipengs), Kajangs (including Sekapans,. Kejamans, Lahanans, Punans, Tanjongs dan Kanowits), Lugats, Lisums, Malays, Melanos, Muruts, Penans, Sians, Tagals, Tabuns and Ukits.
The Sabah definition in the Article 161 is general but the Interpretation (Definition of Native) Ordinance of the Sabah State Law is very inclusive. Saving for resident and immigration rules, it means and include:
(1) All people indigenous to Sabah; or(Update) A Sabah newspaper (extracted here) reported Sabah natives as "Kadazandusun or Dusun or Kadazan (92 sub-ethnic) - Bajau or Sama or Bajau/Sama (10 sub-ethnic) - Murut (29 sub-ethnic) - Brunei or Malay Brunei - Rungus (4 sub-ethnic) - Bisaya or Bisayah - Idahan or Ida'an (7 sub-ethnic) - Iranun or Illanun - Kedayan or Kadayan - Orang Sungai or Sungoi (28 sub-ethnic) - Lundayeh/Lundayah - Suluk - Tidong - Bulongan - Balabak/Molbog"
(2) Suluk, Kagayan, Simonol, Sibutu or Ubian people or people indigenous to Sarawak or Brunei; or
(3) People indigenous to Indonesia or the Sulu group of islands in the Philippine Archipelago or the States of Malaya or the Republic of Singapore
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
That is a lot vernacular schools and language classes. Apa kamu nak jawab, Hishamuddin. It is a test whether you are a "pemimpin atau ahli politik"?
Wonder what spin and excuse would his Deputy, Wee Ka Siong come up with? He should be smart enough to demand materialised, budget for Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools should be shared with some 20 ethnic vernacular schools or additional native language classes?
As for Lim Guan Eng, Lim Kit Siang, Samy Velu, Kayveas, Nasharuddin Mat Isa, Teng Chang Yeow, Anwar Ibrahim and Azmin Ali, what finger pointing political spins, table turning excuses, and intentionally intended to be rejected proposals will they conjure up to solve racial polarisation?
Be it in Semenanjung or Sabah or Sarawak, there is no excuse for job vacancy ad to insist for language proficiency in Chinese for machinist and farm hands. It means only Chinese vernacular school leavers have more rights to employment. That is segregation and its unconstitutional!
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Mukhriz: Razak said it first
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 - Umno Youth chief candidate Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir continued to defend his proposal to unify the education system today, stating that it is an idea that was first mooted in the Penyata Razak (Razak Report) of 1956.He made reference to the report by former Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, the then Education Minister, which was to "unify students from all races with one education system that covers all races. We are of the opinion that to carry this out, we need to integrate the syllabus of all schools."
"Of course, it did not set a deadline for this. But it has been 52 years, so when are we going to do it?" Mukhriz said as part of a panel on local television channel Astro Awani's Analisis Awani show this evening.
Mukhriz had on Monday suggested that the current dual-stream system of national and vernacular schools be scrapped and be replaced by one which would use Bahasa Malaysia as its medium of instruction in all subjects except science, math and other language subjects.
It came under heavy fire from both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat parties, to the extent of being accused of sedition with a police report filed against him.
The Jerlun MP added today that to an extent, the Wawasan schools idea could achieve the integration that was the objective of his suggestion as at the very least, the shared field, canteen and other facilities would allow the students to play and mix with each other.
Mukhriz, the son of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, also hit back at DAP for saying that he should be charged under the Sedition Act for questioning a sensitive issue that is protected under the Federal Constitution.
"In fact, all languages are protected not just Mandarin and Tamil. But while the opposition continues to criticise the allocation for vernacular schools, Ibans and Kadazans get no allocation at all," he said, implying that the opposition was playing to the gallery.
Mukhriz concluded by saying that his suggestion should be taken with an open mind and discussed together between various political parties and NGOs to come up with a policy that is accepted by all to be tabled in Parliament.
Another panellist, Mental Development Institute (Inmind) chief executive Norizan Sharif , said that the reason Mukhriz had come under heavy criticism was due to the ongoing roiling debate on the social contract and Ketuanan Melayu (Malay Supremacy) and his suggestion was immediately viewed from a racial viewpoint.
* Edited and updated 12/12/2008 8:45 am