Wednesday, December 3, 2008

If Mukhriz Was Wrong, So Was Kit Siang's Ideology.


Let us get the basics straight. Have we acted in a manner whereby we are seen as breaching the Federal Constitution? No. In fact, we often use the term ‘constitutional rights’ as our sword to attack those who claim that demonstrations and candlelight vigils do not conform to the frameworks that shape the ‘Malaysian Culture’. When speaking of the New Economic Policy, we say that we are against it because it is long overdue and the correlation between the length of its existence and the level of discrimination involved suggest that it is positive in nature. The most of us would also say that we, at all times, have abided by the Federal Constitution and we have never questioned the position of Islam as the official religion and Bahasa Malaysia as the national language. We are only opposing the policies implemented by the Government which infringes our constitutional rights, such as the New Economic Policy. Well, if we agree that these are the things we often say, we will also have to agree that today, we are all nothing but plain hypocrites.


KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, the MP for Jerlun, wants vernacular schools in its current format to be closed.


He said the schools should be integrated into the national school system so that pupils would be able to integrate and interact better.” –NST Online


What was so wrong with the suggestion made by Mukhriz that earned him condemnation from almost of all us? Was it the essence of the suggestion itself or was it because he is an UMNO man? Or could it be because he carried the eighth cardinal sin of being the son of Mahathir Mohamad?


On a personal level, I feel the story was carried with much bias. The focal point of the story was the shutting down of all vernacular schools, but if read in detail, the reasoning given was one that we have all been championing for. He went on to say that while Bahasa Malaysia would be the main medium of communication, the Tamil and Mandarin languages should be made compulsory for all Indians and Chinese respectively, and Malays would also have the option of learning these subjects.


Now, in what way are we deprived of our constitutional rights? Are we prevented from learning our own languages? Clearly, the answer is no. If so, why are we whining over it? If the Indians and Chinese feel that we want a school of our own, wouldn’t the only possible reason be for the purpose of mixing around with those of the same colour? And it is amusing that it is the same people who speak highly about the Bangsa Malaysia spirit, who are now advocating a race-based segregation system for young Malaysians. Furthermore, why shouldn’t Bahasa Malaysia be the main medium of communication when it is clearly stipulated in the Federal Constitution that Bahasa Malaysia is the National Language of the country.


The Bangsa Malaysia concept that we all aspire for would require instruments that would help us bridge the racial divides that are seen among us, Malaysians. One important tool would surely be the National Language itself. Undoubtedly, even with the slightest of stereotyping, it can be concluded that the command of the National Language possessed by those in vernacular schools are relatively low compared to those of the national school system. Arguably, this itself contributes to the widening of the racial gap.


Hours ago, the Democratic Action Party lodged a report against Mukhriz for his alleged seditious comments. However, this appears more of a political vendetta considering the fact that Barisan Nasional has often used sedition as an excuse to charge pro-opposition figures. How could the Indians and Chinese be worse of when the suggestion made by Mukhriz would only mean that it is compulsory for them to take up their own languages? Note that in the current system, it is not a compulsion. How could Malaysians be worse of when a system that gathers all Malaysians under one roof regardless of race, comes into play? In the first place, doesn’t this system fit into the Democratic Action Party’s ideology of a Malaysian Malaysia? Yet, they are against it simply because it was a proposal from an UMNO member. Hypocrisy at it’s best, once again.


Lim Kit Siang was quoted as saying:

‘My purpose now is not to discuss the merit or demerit of Mukhriz proposal for a single education system, the validity of his contention blaming the vernacular school system for the polarised society which allegedly caused the poor understanding of the “Ketuanan Melayu” or Malay supremacy concept among the non-Malays and his view that the disunity in Malaysia arose from the different education system.’


From the statement above, it can be construed that Kit Siang refrained from discussing the merit or demerit of the proposal knowing that it would be difficult for him to counter a suggestion that is very much in line with his party’s beliefs. However, since Mukhriz is from the opposite side of the political block, he was not prepared to even admit that the proposal could potentially benefit all Malaysians. Instead, he focused his energy into explaining how Mukhriz has violated Section 3(f) of the Sedition Act by proposing the closure of Tamil and Chinese schools. It appears that the basis for him scrutinizing Mukhriz lies more on a technical ground.


This is the politics that we are seeing today, in which there is not much room for independent-thinking intellectuals like Zaid Ibrahim. Barisan Nasional sees nothing positive in what the Pakatan Rakyat does, vice versa. But they can be forgiven, for they are politicians and this is exactly how their game is played. It is the survival of the fittest, and exploitations know no mercy.


But we cannot be forgiven for being drowned into this game. We often forget that we are the Kingmakers. We place who we want to place in the Parliament, and we kick who we want to kick out of the Parliament. Just like the most of you reading this, I am more inclined towards Anwar Ibrahim’s Pakatan Rakyat. But does that mean that we, the Kingmakers, would have to justify every action taken by them? Does that mean that we, the Kingmakers, should ridicule every move taken by Barisan Nasional? Let us act on principles, along the line of righteousness.


Whilst acknowledging that Mukhriz’s suggestion is positive, he should not be let off the hook too easily. This exact standard should apply to all education levels, be it primary, secondary and even tertiary. Remove vernacular schools, place the students in national schools, and at the same time, open up institutions like UiTM and MRSM for students of all races. It is easy to gain political momentum in UMNO by suggesting the change of system in vernacular schools but if it was indeed a genuine statement with no political bearing attached to it, be bold enough to explicitly state that the same approach has to be applied for all institutions.


by Argus Eye.


also published in Malaysia Today- http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/15616/84/

and Malaysiakini- http://malaysiakini.com/letters/94336

15 comments:

Cruzeiro said...

Strictly speaking, Mukhriz wasn't wrong. In fact, I'm all for it!
The ghetto-mindset that these schools encourage is indeed a hurdle in national integration.

However, under the current system of education in the SKs, would make it so.
If at all he was sincere about national integration, he would first and foremost reject the Race-based politics which he champions. Coming from one who advocates racism practised from the top, one would be sceptical of his motive in doing so.

Let's get real - our education system is twisted so badly, that it appears to advocate the racism, bigotry and apartheid of a bygone era. The mediocrity that it stands for (especially the beyond urban areas) is enough to evoke horror in any educationist.

The only way they can do away with these vernacular schools is by practising meritocracy - it would render these schools irrelevant, should they be unable to compete on a truly level playing field.

So Mukhriz - clean up your backyard before you point fingers!

Anonymous said...

said it earlier and i will say it again.

Me, being a non-malay (a term which i just can't do away at this moment as there are as many racist here as there are in UMNO) Malaysian, fully support what Mukriz said. It is the first step towards national unity. We got to start somewhere don't we. Yes! i would agree with with some commentators here that the change got to be in totality eventually but hey it got to start somewhere isn't.

And don't be such a pain in the arse. Yes, we know we have been cheated by UMNO before this but hey was it really UMNO or MCA and MIC that was cheating us ? If you ask me, its all those three idiots.

I think we have got more to gain than to loose by integrating to one school. I think national school is a must and at the same time the government must make sure that only the best teachers are hired to teach the student. No more minah, ah moi and kamala that can' t pronounce their own name properly in English.

Wake up malaysian, don't dream in your own racist mind but think and work toward what is best for malaysian irrespective whether you are malay, chinese or indian.

Don't be another Ong Tee Keat or Samy velu will you..... These guys got nothing else to politic about except the same old crap. We need people with Obama like mentality not Samy Velu type mentality. These idiots are updated guys and we are supposed to be better than them.

Malaysian fighthing for malaysia.

Anonymous said...

Vernacular schools r not the cause of racial polarization. The racial politics n policies adopted by BN, especially UMNO r.

Malays/Chinese/Indian go to the same national/vernacular schools r they all in unity?

About 49% Malays vote for PR the rest voted for BN, is that unity?

Besides the Chinese vernacular schools do much much better than national schools. They hv produced many many more brilliant scholars than national schools. It's a well known fact recognize by all even TDM at one time.

So how do you expect better schools to close down n combine with lower standard schools?

Anonymous said...

It depends from which perception!
I will say: it is wrong! With reason:
1. The polarized society (Malay and Non Malay) is not due to the vernacular school, in the other words, national school does not guarantee non polarized society. Statistically, how many vernacular schools compare to national school? What is the ratio? … just want to advise you: “Don’t try to kill an ant with big parang”. So what make polarized society? ……..see the next point
2. Does Malaysian (all races) have an equal opportunity on higher education? Yes, No, Yes, No … (classic answer). The reality is “No”. Non-Malay has less opportunity to continue their study in Government University even though they merits in education performance. Government always argues that they need to prioritize Malay education with limited current university. No argue about that, but what is the solution? NONE. Does the new university build? Yes but all prioritized to Malay, again any solution? NONE. In other words, Non-Malays have to compete and prepare for private university which technically required more fund (money) and English or Other language proficiency. So what is the relation with vernacular school? Even the dummies can answer this question! They get the advantage of at least their mother-tongue language, they can speak Melayu, English plus Chinese or Tamil. They can continue their study overseas since the local government education system limits them.
3. Does Malaysian have an equal opportunity in job opportunities? NO, what happen with Non-Malay who can not continue their higher education (poor finance and education performance?) Most of them have to struggle to find the right job, helping their parent legacy to survive from day one. So what is the relation with vernacular school? If you are born as non-malay, your mother-tongue language will be non-melayu i.e. Chinese, Tamil, English etc. the mother-tongue language is important for early education. Mukhriz is not sensitive enough to understand this since he was born as Malay which uses Melayu as mother-tongue language. If he can’t perform, he still no need to worried because the government will help him to get into university and his parent legacy can help him. How about the rest (Non-Malay), they have to follow somebody, they have to understand what their boss want, they have to compete, they have to advantage their self with what Malay don’t have which are mother-tongue language, non-malay culture (hard work) etc.
4. Does the national school guarantee better education performance compare to vernacular school? Sad-ly NO. The national school entity i.e. teachers, students etc do not always promote healthy education system compare to the established vernacular school. Sad to say that but the reality is like that!

mak jun yeen said...

Sudah tentu Lim Kit Siang kena bantai Mukhriz kerana survival politiknya bergantung kepada memperjuangkan kepentingan pengundinya yang rata-rata adalah pendokong pendidikan vernakular yang fanatik.

Lagipun seperti pendapat penulis blog ini, Mukhriz adalah dari Parti yang mendokong konsep "Ketuanan" sesuatu kaum jadi apa saranan yang dikeluarkan oleh Mukhriz walaupun bernas mesti dilihat oleh seteru politik sebagai bermuslihat dan mengandungi agenda perkauman konsep Parti yang sedang mentadbitr negara.

Bagi orang-ornag sebegini, jika Mukhriz mengisyitiharkan kuburnya NEP ataupun Art 153 Perlenbagaan sekalipun, mereka akan menjawab dengan serubi satu sangsi kononnya tak ikhlaslah, hipokriklah atau irrelevantlah dan sebagainya.

Kita sebagai rakyat ynag mengguna hotak kami mesti senantiasa berwaspada dan meluangkan hati dan nurani kita menjadi cermin kepada ahli ahli politik bahawa samada mereka dari bangku sebelah kanan atau kiri Dewan RAkyat.

AR said...

Thanks dear.. Very well said.. Every politician wants open all doors but little do they know that some doors should remain shut for everyone's sake.

Anonymous said...

I always believe Malaysians should have our own identity, a Malaysian race and a Malaysian Language. The fact that I am writing this comment in English, disgust me and shows my hypocrisy. So to BN, adopt the Malaysian Malaysia concept and to PR (DAP especially), adopt the Malay language as the Malaysian Language.

If we are Malaysians, why do we need to communicate between ourselves Malaysians in English. Do we see or hear the Japanese, the Germans, the French, the Italians, the non English speaking European Nations communicate between themselves in English?

alrawa said...

I agree with Mukriz that there should be one school system and the language of instruction be Malay.
Of course the vernacular schools can retain their identities e.g. Koay Teow Primary school or Idiapom Primary school!
Why did I agree with Mukriz's idea? In 20 years time there will be no more court interpreters!

Anonymous said...

Well, the real cause of disunity among the races in Malaysia is the politics of divide and rule as practised by the BN.

UMNO allow the break up of the races into splinter parties eg. Chinese to be represented by MCA, Gerakan , SAPP , SUPP , Gerakan etc and the Kadazandusuns by PBS, PBRS , Pasokmogun etc and the Indians by MIC , PPP , IPF , Gerakan.

There is no effort to promote UNITY among all races at all. The National Unity department is just set up for show and pay a lip service only.

The level of disunity is manifested to grave proportions at this moment in time in Malaysia and after 50 years of independence the ruling party BN cannot escape the blame.

Entry into universities, civil services , police , army , taxi and bus permits and qualifications for scholarships is all about quotas by race and this automatically create a dividing line in the minds of the rakyat.

What's more, even at secondary level entry into premier schools is controlled along racial lines and you cannot blame the innocent children to be grown up thinking along racial origins, do you ?

When UMNO is on the losing end, they will not hesitate to use the racial and religious card to further their own ends.

Additionally, the vernacular newspaper especially the Malay dailies play up and champion racial groups and this is condone by the ruling party. Is this the way to promote national unity ?

Clearly, this is the strategy adopted by UMNO to allow themselves to rule the rooost but... it must be remembered that the rakyat nowadays are wised to such nonsensical acts and will not work anymore.

mut said...

If Mukhriz is wrong, and Lim is wrong, then we have the status quo. Fine with me.

Mukhriz gets his UMNO AGM publicity with his racist credentials burnished, and that was what the exercise was all about. Future of the Malaysian race on his mind? Not likely despite what his supporters might want to project.

If there's anything that needs to be given up, it seems someone else has to do it. Talk about subsidies? Petrol prices go up for us - IPP contracts are not negotiated (ditto for the electricity tariff hike). We are told to give up subsidies but UMNO contractors still look for government handouts in overpriced, shoddy work. Talk about national car projects, UMNO cronies pocket APs and make money atas angin while Proton suffers.

The list goes on. Now it's the vernacular schools that have to go instead of the institutionalised race based nature of matriculation centres, UiTMs and such when we talk about Bangsa Malaysia. UMNO are really good at this aren't they?

Same old, same old....

Sam said...

There should be only 1 educational system. Why are the vernacular schools reluctant to join the national schools? Is it because they want to educate/train only their own? If, as some people say, the venacular schools are superior to national schools, why not share this superiority with other races in national schools? Are trying to breed an elite race? Maybe national schools can learn from these venacular schools. From my more than 20 years expereience of teaching in post secondary institutions, Students from vernacular schools have problems mixing with the other races. This goes with the MRSM and other "sekolah penuh asrama" . It can be seen in matriculations, Sixth Forms and universities that students who have a nice mix of Chinese, Indians and Malay friends in their primary and secondary schools mix freely with these races after leaving school. If our educational system does not reflect the multicultural society, how do we intend to promote unity?
Incidentally teachers should have a degree. We should take people who really want to teach to become teachers not someone who could not qualify to train for anything else...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for clarifying the matter, I admit I was quick to condemn Mukhriz. Point taken, as one of your commentators (Cruzeiro) wrote "...the ghetto-minset...", I'm begin to clearly see what I was looking at when my father inlaw talked about the need to maintain Chinese venacular schools. Yes, they are setting up a Ghetto environment there. The kids only speak mandarin and if you don't, the products of these schools look down on you and treat you like some alien not worth their time and attention! I know this as I was unfortunate to meet one several years ago! - kedahan63 (MT)

stormcloud said...

The idea of a single encompassing school system (both primary and secondary) is a moot point i.e. it should be the one thing the country as a whole should be working towards. To me, the real issues at hand are how to handle the fears and distrust from the various communities and work towards that dream. The task of achieving proper balance in the implementation will be a long and difficult road.

The negativity of some comments on this issue saddens me. Some are downward petty, some displays the generic "I don't care" attitude and some are automatic negative just because the topic got re-highlighted by Mathathir's son.

Ask any politician what do they think on this acid test issue. Their answers will differentiate those who are truly great leaders from the mediocre.

No, I'm not a fan of Mukhriz and neither am I a fan of any of the current political parties. The perspective comes from nation building, not the selfish aims and shortsignedness coming from each race. The more you alienate yourselves at the weak pretence of maintaning identity ... the more alienated to society you become. In the end, you've only got yourselves to blame when disaster comes.

What a truly "great" country we live in.

BareSheen said...

People, let's separate the woods from the trees, ok?

What is fundamentally driving the wedge between the races here is - it is staring in our face - institutionalised discrimation! When you skin colour blights you in terms of opportunities, when you race and religion count more than you ability and merits.

When since young, most non-Malays are reminded time and again, ad nauseam, that they are "pendatangs". That their existence here is at the pleasure of the bumis.

Is it any wonder that there is no unity?

As long as we do not remove discrimination, as long as each race is not treated with equality and respect, where skin colour and religion do not matter one fucking bit, please, stop all these nonsense talks about vernacular school versus kebangsaan school.

Or whether a forced implementation of Bahasa Malaysia will somehow by magic create a united Malaysia.

Stop the nonsense chatter here and deal with the real issue.

Anonymous said...

There is no problem integrating the schools...but, the way the national school system had been degraded over the years would mean that it is no longer a valid request to require students from superior schools to downgrade to the level of the national schools which churns out students/graduates that is unemployable.

If the authorities are really serious, they need to improve the national school system to a highly acceptable level. Get rid of the blatant racist brainwashing activities of the Tata Biro Negara. Teachers must be based on merits - not race or religion! That was how our school system went down the drain!

We cannot allow our children to downgrade to a lower standard of education because time waits for no one and they have only 1 chance in life to be the best and work towards a comfortable life.

Start improving the national school standards immediately and when their standards had improved significantly, students from all races will return to national schools in droves - this is the natural law of excellence.

Achievements always attracts the ambitious and the talented. There is no need to require or force anyone to do anything in life - if the object is attractive enough, people will work towards it.