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Hishammuddin should stop being “childish” and begin to conduct himself as Education Minister for all Malaysians and all streams of education by setting early date for a meeting with Dong Jiao Zong in keeping with the Prime Minister’s injunction to all Ministers to “hear the truth”

by Lim Kit Siang  


(Ipoh, Thursday) : The tantrums of the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein in the past few days, accusing the Chinese educational bodies Dong Jiao Zong of being “not sincere” and declaring that “it’s not the end of the world” if he did not meet the Dong Jiao Zong leaders or that the government will not protect Chinese education have rightly been criticized by many as manifestation of his “arrogance of power”. 

But these tantrums also show his “puerile” dimension. It is time Hishammuddin stop being “childish”, be conscious that he is charge of one of the most important ministries in government and begin to conduct himself as Education Minister for all Malaysians and all streams of education by setting an early date for a meeting with Dong Jiao Zong in keeping with the Prime Minister’s injunction to all Ministers to “hear the truth” from the people and all sectors of Malaysian society. 

I still wonder why Hishammuddin “blew his top” on Tuesday, openly accusing Dong Jiao Zong of being “not sincere” for laying down conditions for a meeting with him, which has been proven to be untrue by Dong Jiao Zong. 

Was Hishammuddin misled by Chinese newspaper reports that day on the ten resolutions of the Jiao Zong 2007 Annual General meeting calling, among other things, for: 

  • Revision of the National Education Blueprint 2006-2010 to make it compatible with Malaysia’s multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-lingual characteristics;
  • Repeal of the “final objective” of the national education policy to have only one language as medium of instruction at all levels of the education system.
  • Review of the use of English to teach mathematics and science from Primary One;
  • Re-opening of Damansara Chinese Primary School; and
  • Adequate trained teachers and fair allocation of  funding for Chinese primary schools.

As Hishammuddin does not read the Chinese newspapers, was the Education Minister who is also Umno Youth leader misled in “blowing his top” at Dong Jiao Zong on Tuesday. If so, who was responsible for misleading Hishammuddin? To the Malaysian public, if it is not Gerakan, then it must be MCA. 

Most pertinent of all, why did the MCA Deputy Education Minister Datuk Hon Choon Kin allow his Minister to be so misled as to make a most unwarranted public attack on Dong Jiao Zong – or was he chiefly instrumental for misleading Hishammuddin? 

It is most unwise for Hishammuddin to raise the question of “sincerity” when he himself has yet to set a good example, as he has not yet  brought to a satisfactory end of his most provocative and indefensible wielding of the Malay keris in the past two Umno Youth general assemblies in circumstances which clearly demonstrated his utter disregard for the sensitivities and rights of all races and communities in plural Malaysia. 

I do not know whether Hishammuddin has also been given the wrong advice that he has now acquired the “political capital” to publicly lambast Dong Jao Zong because of his recent highly-publicised educational visit to China. 

If so, Hishammuddin  has again been given wrong advice. Hishammuddin is setting out on a completely mistaken direction and he should turn back before he makes more mistakes.   

He should end his arrogant and childish tantrums and meet up with Dong Jiao Zong to hear the “truth” about the national education policy, however unpleasant, so that the National Education Blueprint 2006-2010 could be more rounded, representative and effective in achieving for Malaysia a quality education system which fully respects the mother-tongue educational aspirations of Malaysians as well as to enhance the country’s international competitiveness to face the challenges of globalization.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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