There has been an increasing number of Chinese vernacular schools during the past two decades, says MCA Deputy President, DS Dr Wee Ka Siong. Dr Wee has slammed DAP’s Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching over her claim that between 1990 and 2000, the number of Chinese vernacular schools in Malaysia fell from 1,290 to 1,284.
Dr Wee hit out at DAP MP Teo Nie Ching who questioned MCA’s commitment in building more schools. According to him, between 1999 and 2016, 17 new Chinese schools had been approved, of which 16 were now in operation.
Previously, Teo claimed that despite an increase of student enrolment to 42,261 between 1990 and 2000, the number of Chinese schools fell from 1,290 to 1,284. However, Dr Wee said there were now 1,298 schools, and that figure did not include SJK(C) Kajang Utama, which is to start its first school session next year.
Dr Wee in his statement urged that by using obsolete figures, Teo is being unfair to the Government as well as those who have worked hard in building Chinese schools. Dr Wee said MCA had never abandoned its fight for Chinese education.
He reminded Teo of the period when Anwar Ibrahim was deputy prime minister, in which he disallowed vernacular schools to be built on land reserved for national schools. It was only after Anwar was sacked, the then Education Minister DS Najib Tun Razak worked with MCA to build and relocate Chinese schools.
Dr Wee said that between 1999 and September 2016, MCA had facilitated the building and relocation of 104 schools. The party is also working to build and relocate eight schools which are waiting for the Prime Minister’s approval. He added since 2008, Najib had approved more than RM500 million for vernacular schools.
In contrast, he said the Pakatan-led Selangor government did not do anything and even imposed red tape on MCA’s efforts to build new schools. Dr Wee gave an example when MCA was working to build new schools in Selangor, namely SJK(C) Tun Tan Siew Sin, SJK(C) Kheng Chee, Puchong and SJK(C) Sungai Long, MCA faced obstacles in getting approval. The delays according to Dr Wee, could run up to two years. In contrast, the Johor government gave approvals under two months.
Dr Wee said Selangor and Penang were among the states which received most Chinese support and questioned why the Pakatan-led governments were not willing to work together to build more Chinese schools. Johor had allocated more than 20 pieces of land for schools and had given fullest cooperation in expediting our applications.
The question is why can’t Selangor and Penang do the same? The Penang government had only agreed to land-for-land exchanges for schools. The land Penang had given to SJK(C) Yang Cheng in exchange for was located on higher ground. Not only the land had to be flattened, the school had to spend large sums to build retaining walls. This is unlike the Johor government, which was sincere in providing land, and even spent several million ringgit on roads and ensuring the construction goes well.