After playing the 3R cards (religion, racial and royalty) to the hilt, the adventurous UMNO appears to be trying to politicise education. The name Mohd Fadil Osman might not mean anything to average Joes and Janes. But the UMNO Kemayan assemblyman’s claim that vernacular schools destroy unity in Malaysia is both entertaining and ignorance.
During a question-and-answer session in the 14th Pahang State Legislative Assembly on April 16, Mr. Fadil argued that the more fund vernacular schools receive from the federal government, the more severe the damage will be done to national unity. He also mocked students of Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools of acting like “pendatang (foreigners or immigrants)”.
Besides showing his ignorance, he has practically proven that the UMNO party has been adopting racism and discrimination against the ethnic Chinese and ethnic Indian for the last 61 years – treating the minority non-Malay communities as second-class citizens. In actual fact, it was (and still is) UMNO politicians – not vernacular schools – who have destroyed the nation’s unity.
There are two things that minority Chinese treasure dearly – economy and education. If you try to take one of them away, you are asking for trouble. Temples and and education are equally important to the minority Indian community. That was why when the 147-year-old Sri Maha Marianmman temple in Seafield was attacked by a gang of 50-250 Malay thugs, all hell broke loose.
The route to education for the ethnic Chinese is pretty simple. Majority – up to 90% – will send their children to vernacular schools for their primary school education. Those who send their kids to international schools will most often than not enrol their precious children for extra classes just to learn Mandarin. The objective is to protect mother-tongue education as well as to get a quality education.
For those who can afford an overseas education, Chinese students as young as 11 years old (Primary 5) would sit for the international school entrance exam, skipping one year of primary 6 at SJKC. Those who cannot afford the expensive international school would most likely continue their education at Chinese secondary schools and thereafter – UEC (Unified Examination Certificate) examination.
There’s a third option for the poor parents, though – secondary school education at Malay-medium national schools. Even then, the parents will be fighting tooth and nail – every year – to get their children into “quality or top” (recognised as a Cluster School of Excellence) public funded national schools. Regardless of which the routes are taken, they receive sufficient amount of Malay language education.
The funny thing is, despite claims by UMNO politicians – every now and then – that Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools are a hindrance to national unity, more and more majority ethnic Malay are attracted to such schools. There are more than 80,000 Malay school children currently studying in vernacular “SJKCs” schools – due to their high quality education and discipline.
Was Mohd Fadil Osman trying to say that the 80,000 Malay parents who joined the bandwagon of 600,000 Chinese parents in vernacular schools are equally responsible for damaging the national unity? In fact, UMNO Youth Chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki sends his children to Chinese vernacular school, despite his objection to recognizing the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC).
It’s absolutely hypocritical and hypocrisy to condemn the vernacular schools for allegedly promoting disunity, but quietly sends their own children to the same schools to get a quality education. It also does not hold water to accuse students from vernacular schools possess a poor grasp of Malay language when the results of examination show they are better than students from Malay-medium national-type schools.
While there is no evidence of vernacular schools causing disunity in the country, there are tons of evidence of UMNO Malay Nationalist Party destroying the national unity. It’s also shallow-minded to claim that abolishing various streams or vernacular schools and forces everyone into a single stream Malay-medium national school is the key to unity.
The Chinese Indonesians have been studying in a single-stream education system all their life. They have had practically surrendered everything in the name of the so-called national unity. Sukarno regime in 1958 forced the ethnic Chinese to use Indonesian-sounding names, and their traditions and culture were forbidden.
Yet, the Indonesian “New Order” revealed its ugly face in 1998. During the riots following the Asian Financial Crisis, Chinese Indonesians were violently targeted. The minority community saw thousands of their ethnicity raped, robbed, plundered and killed. Former President Suharto’s corruption, mismanagement and incompetency were blamed on the country’s ethnic Chinese instead.
How could UMNO, and the new government for that matter, convinces the ethnic Chinese and ethnic Indian to surrender the vernacular “SJKCs” schools when non-Muslim primary school students of SRK Sri Pristana, a Malay-medium national school, were forced to eat their meals during recess in the toilet due to the ongoing Ramadan fasting month in 2013?
And who can forget the 2010 incident in Kedah, where the headmistress of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bukit Selambau accused Chinese students of being insensitive towards their Muslim peers by eating in the school compound during the fasting month of Ramadan, before ordering them to “return to China” if they could not respect the culture of other races.
The usage of different language as the medium of teaching instruction at vernacular schools does not contribute to national disunity at all. Instead, it’s the ideology promoted by the schools which determine the national unity. The 80,000 Malay parents sending their children to “SJKCs” are the best testimony that vernacular schools promote harmony by instilling moral values in children.
UMNO’s racism and discrimination policies against ethnic Chinese and ethnic Indian, using the minorities as punching bags whenever the needs arise, is the ultimate reason national unity in the country is destroyed. It was perhaps the lack of confidence, hatred and jealousy that drove UMNO assemblyman like Mohd Fadil Osman cooking up a cock and bull story about vernacular schools damaging unity.
Source : Finance Twitter