By Koon Yew Yin
It was reported in the Star that several thousand people attended the mega dinner in the Ipoh Stadium, organised by the Perak MCA on 14 October. In his speech, Dr Chua Soi Lek, the MCA President, urged the guests to vote for the Barisan National because it had established a solid foundation dating back to independence. He also said that DAP would not be able to defend the Chinese even if Pakatan Rakyat took over power because it is subservient to PAS and Parti Keadilan.
At the function, Dr Chua presented RM 500,000 to 44 Chinese primary schools and 6 national type secondary schools or Rm 10,000 for each school.
Various thoughts come to my mind on reading the report of the mega dinner. One is of disbelief that the MCA leaders can stoop so low in using public funds for Chinese education in their attempt to win a few seats in the coming elections. But we should not be surprised especially when we look at MCA’s track record in the 2008 general election in Perak where they won only one state and three parliamentary seats.
A Chairman of one of the Chinese schools told me that he did not attend the dinner because he did not want to appear so stupid as to accept the Rm 10,000 bribe to vote for the MCA. Learning from the senior partner, electoral bribery appears to be the main item in the standard operating procedure manual of MCA for the coming election. But unlike UMNO in the Peninsula, and Taib and Musa Aman in Sarawak and Sabah who have billions in their political slush funds, MCA can only throw out crumbs – such is the party’s impotency and poor standing in the BN and governmental system.
MCA: See No Evil, Speak No Evil, Hear no Evil
With regard to Dr Chua’s statement that DAP is subservient to PAS and PKR, it is necessary to remind MCA supporters that almost every act of the Perak Pakatan Rakyat administration before BN unfairly regained control, was criticised by the Malaysian mainstream press, especially by Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian. Chinese readers of the Malay papers and media will be familiar – and must be thoroughly disgusted – with the racist campaign of hate and poison poured out on a daily basis by UMNO, the MCA’s partner, which owns the mainstream Malay papers. Now what has the MCA to say about Utusan’s lies and dirty reporting – nothing! The silence of the MCA in response to the racist brainwashing engaged in by UMNO speaks volumes about the low quality and lack of backbone of the MCA’s leaders – past and present.
We now see that the Malays are being peddled the line that the Pakatan Rakyat is selling out to the non-Malays and that there is a Christian plot to take over the country. These dirty tricks and political spinning have not only continued but have gotten worse. Increasingly racial and religious extremist sentiments are coming to the forefront which all of us need to condemn if our country’s social fabric is not to be torn apart. But does the MCA dare to speak out? No, instead it is a party to these dirty tactics.
National Education: Monumental MCA Failing
It is pathetic to see the MCA going round the country and throwing out crumbs to the Chinese schools. During the past 50 years, not only has MCA failed Chinese education dismally but it has also been a leading partner in the decline of our national school system. Today our national schools are characterized by regressive language and religious dogmas, dismal performance, low standards and unemployable products. No middle or upper middle class parent – whether Chinese, Malay, Indian or from any community – would want to have their young children schooled in the sekolah rendah kebangsaan and sekolah menegah if they can help it.
This national disgrace has the MCA as one of its leading players. The party has held the Deputy Minister of Education portfolio for umpteen years. Can the MCA point to any educational innovation that it has introduced? Can the MCA point to any educational policy of merit, fairness, and tolerance that it has been responsible for since independence?
The Chinese Deputy Minister of Education or Dr. Chua may be good at giving speeches to Chinese schools and giving out chicken feed funds but when it comes to helping determine the course of national educational policy in key areas, their position is more like that of the office boy.
Let’s take the National Education Blueprint report. Now what is the MCA to say about the establishment of the matriculation college system which has discriminated against the deserving non-Bumiputeras. Malaysian public universities offer a one-year matriculation programme. These courses have largely catered to the Bumiputera population and are deemed as having a much lower standard, qualifying criteria and final examination requirement for entry into university. This situation is in contrast to that which non-Bumiputera students face as they are required to sit for the much tougher two-year STPM in Form 6. Now how did this system come about if the MCA has not been a willing accessory to the educational discrimination and injustice.
A Fair National Policy: What has MCA Done?
Many Malaysians, including myself, fully support the policy that attention should be given to the educational needs of the underprivileged in society, with appropriate consideration and greater weight to those in the poorer rural-based Bumiputera (Malays and non-Malay Bumiputera) community. However, the needs of deserving non-Malays should also be treated fairly and equally.
For example, information on awards should be publicly disclosed and widely disseminated. The government’s scholarship policy tacitly endorsed by the MCA has been indiscriminately applied to favour of the well to do from one community. Without proper checks and balances, it has had a crippling effect on Malaysian parents and their children, and this includes many poorer Malays.
But I suspect MCA leaders do not care about this and other flaws in our education system. After all, their children are not studying in the local Chinese schools that are receiving a pittance in government aid but studying abroad in expensive private schools and universities – many at tax payers’ expense.
This is why I, and many of my friends, am of the opinion that a mega-disaster is awaiting for the MCA in the coming elections.