An Open Letter to the Prime Minister of Malaysia
I read with great disappointment and deep regret your recent pronouncement that vernacular schools will stay for as long as the Chinese and Indian communities want them to.
While you are at it, why don’t we we have separate hospitals, police stations and government departments to deal with each community exclusively. Heck, we should even have separate prime ministers too because the way I see it, that’s what the Chinese and Indian communities want too. Don’t believe me? Get your guys to take another look at PRU13 voting demographics.
As things stand, whenever I drive past a masjid, I see Malay worshippers. Walk past a church and I see Chinese with a handful of Indians congregations, Indians in Hindu temples and Chinese in Buddhist/ Taoist ones. We have separate newspapers and with privatization, separate TV and radio channels. We even segregate our hawker centres, never mind workplaces and living quarters.
The last thing we need is to go to our schools and see mainly Malays, Chinese or Indians only students. We might as well live in apartheid pre Mandela South Africa and we will feel right at home.
You were partially right when you said in 2008 that “it was debatable that the polarisation of students was due just to vernacular schooling” but you are absolutely wrong if you think that vernacular schools is what the Chinese and Indian communities want. It is what their community leaders want, not what the communities want, I hope you can see the distinction. Trust me, community leaders’ interests and aspirations are not always in tune with those whom they claim to represent.
Chinese and Indian parents, like Malay parents and parents everywhere in the world, only want ONE thing for their children; the BEST education that can provide their children with the necessary skill sets that enable them to compete in the knowledge race which provide upward mobility and career choices in their adult lives, irrespective of the medium of instruction.
It is the government’s duty and responsibility to provide that within a well thought out national educational system and framework that takes into consideration the right balance between national unity needs and those of individual communities desires for cultural and traditional values. Do not wash your hands off and abdicate that responsibility to individual communities. Education is and will always be a national issue.
While I agree with you that vernacular schools is not the singular cause of racial polarization, why add to it when doing away with vernacular schools could be the only long term solution to polarization. Even if we are merely making a cuppa, we need a universal solvent (water) where the different solutes ie coffee powder, sugar and milk can blend together and produce a solution which we call coffee. Now, where do you see that solvent coming from?
The government and the civil service? No, you are just as divisive as the racist opposition. Ditto the media, religious organizations, political parties and community leaders. Bersih and PMB? haha.
A unified national schools system is not just about languages nor is it just about pursuit of knowledge. It is about providing the necessary infrastructure where Malaysians from all ethnic groups can congregate and interact socially within an environment free of racial prejudices in a background of acquiring knowledge and learning from each other, UNDER ONE ROOF.
For many Malaysians, those adolescent years spent in schools is the only opportunity they have of experiencing and learning cultural traits and idiosyncrasies of their fellow Malaysians from other ethnic backgrounds on a regular basis. Do not deny them of that enriching experience because when they go about their lives as adult Malaysians Chinese in family owned businesses or Malays in the Civil Service, those experiences and values acquired during their formative years will determine how they perceive their fellow Malaysians from different racial/ ethnic backgrounds.
Unless 1Malaysia is nothing more than election rhetorics, more form than substance. Do not play politics with education or use it to prop up the useless MCA. Do the right thing, please.
Source: Daniel Goh