Sunday, December 20, 2009

Integration requires sacrifice

(Mingguan Malaysia, 20 December)
Dr. Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, Senior Lecturer, National Defence University Malaysia cum Secretary General of Islamic Chamber of Commerce Malaysia.

As expected, influential Chinese associations including MCA would not agree with any government actions to improve the position of the Malay language in the Chinese schools such as standardize the Malay (BM) syllabus and increasing the learning time for BM and the suggestions to add another subject of Malaysia My Country in BM. All the proposals were rejected and what is more extreme is that they want the new subject Malaysia My Country to be taught in the mother tongue language. In other words, any proposal to empower the BM is considered to erode the position and character of the Chinese schools (SJKC). Is this what we called integration since we rejected assimilation?

The MCA Youth chief being the Deputy Minister in the field of education was so vocal acting as a village hero. Had he made a study on the actual problems, especially on the Malay language performance in terms of the daily usage and the examination results in these schools? As a member of the cabinet, he should had made more in-depth research, especially academically to know what actually causes the problems with the acceptance of integration and not assimilation as what that had been suggested all this while? Moreover, he had a doctorate qualification. Do not act too ultra kiasu like the ultra party! What a disappointment for the Barisan Nasional (BN), having component parties in the government for so long but yet do not understand the aspirations and ambitions of the country. I request they come to my school where the majority of the students are non-Malays and to see their situations over there. Make a study and ask the teachers and principal. Don't just bark here and there, with the purpose of covering own weaknesses. Nobody is going to gain anything and our future generations will be at a loss.

If this is how they think, then it simply means that the single school system (SSS) is only an illusion. Just by touching a little on the vernacular schools incurs the loss of rationale, then how are we to unite under one roof? Therefore, it is not a surprised that the visionary school failed to achieve its purpose. I am confident that after this I will receive another invitation letter to debate. I will be labeled as anti-Chinese. Meanwhile I have never rejected the rights of non-Malays to learn their mother tongue, not at all. I promise, I will speak aloud and criticize the government if there is any attempts to remove the rights of the non-Malays to learn their mother tongue if it is destined that SSS exist later. My question is whether the SSS will ever be established? I think at this moment it is still far from reality.

How long do we want to wait to see our generation able to speak Malay fluently after staying in this country for that long? My friend who is of English descent and having stayed only a year in this country, have been able to master the BM very well. Indeed, the encouragement to learn another language is required by Islam. In fact, I encourage Muslims to learn Mandarin as recommended by the Prime Minister during the opening dinner of the Chinese private secondary school Chong Hwa recently. We often heard the words "seek knowledge even to the state of China". But is it appropriate that due to being passionate and eager to learn their own language to the extent that the language that became the core for the country race and unity is ignored? I will not speak and write again if the non-Malay has a strong foundation of the Malay language before entering the SJKC. In fact, I encouraged my own children to SJKC because they have a strong foundation of the Malay language. But is this happening? The majority of those studying in SJKC do not have a basic BM except those living in Kelantan and Terengganu. For those who live in the urban areas, they have very weak command of BM. It is not only the children, but also the adults. I am not saying everyone.

If you do not believe, we can begin a study on the members of the DAP, MCA and Gerakan. Ask them to write an essay and speak in BM. How long do we want to continue to listen to conversations such as "gua tatak mau ", "itu maciam manyak susah lo", "lu tarak tau kah"? Who will be the losers in the end? If our children do not get good examination results on BM, they will fail to obtain scholarship and fail in the interview, thus who should we blame? Of course the government or the Public Service Department (PSD) will be blamed? PSD will be blamed for prioritizing the Malays and Bumiputeras and instead marginalizing the non-Malays and others.

I was attacked frequently because to them the current racial issues are not caused by the vernacular education policy but instead are caused by UMNO which is considered as too racist. UMNO continued to be blamed by them including those in the BN component party. I would like to ask that whether the existence of the MCA, DAP, MIC, Makkal Sakti, PPP and Gerakan are also not racist? PAS is also a racist party, a party dominated by the Malays although it is open to all Muslims. Do not because of one or two of the committee members and their members are not of the same race, then it has an excuse for it to be a multi-racial party in respond to 1Malaysia. Facts and history, since the beginning on the foundations of this country was built on the basis of racism until today. It is not only political parties that are racists, in fact it can be stated that almost all the NGO associations established are racists. The Chinese NGOs itself already have more than 8000 in this country. The NGOs of the other races are also about the same. If this trend continues, where do you think our country direction will be heading in the future?

Therefore, we must try to improve the situations from today after acknowledging all the problems that have occurred. Do not allow the problems continue to be a problem for the result will be more problematic. Problems should be resolved with the methods and ideas to overcome them. Otherwise, we are not progressing. So much money is spent for being political among ourselves to out throw each other. Are there no other reasons such as developments and so forth?

The non-Malays are fearful with the Education Act 1996 which they considered will erode the existence of the vernacular schools if the Malay language is enforced. Did the government ever invoke or implement this act until now? Have we not realized that this act is much more acceptable compared to the previous act of the Education Act 1961 which was more unacceptable where the Minister of Education had the full power to remove the vernacular schools? This Act was not enforced either. Are we grateful with this new act? Instead of being grateful, we wanted the act in 1996 to be eliminated. If this act is abolished, it means that the vernacular schools are not governed by any acts at all and can never be touched at all. That is their main aims. Sometimes I am wondering whether we are actually living in Malaysia or in other countries.

If this situation continues, and in addition with the Private Higher Educational Institutions (IPTS) being racist, belonging to certain races and racist political parties, how to construct a nation based on national identity can ever be done? I was given to understand that the private institutions today cannot be controlled anymore. The Malay language is not acknowledged at all. Let alone its guardian actually consists of ministers from the non-Malays. I am worried and am very sure that eventually a day will come when the IPTS degrees will be better or more acceptable than the IPTA degrees. It is simple logic that if racism is the beginning, then racism will be the end. If that happens, then it is a successful planning by the ultra kiasu party and its components. Who are the losers? Think for a moment! Have they not realized that the government of today has sacrificed a lot? If it is not for the hundreds but the thousands of hectares of land that had been given to this IPTS, and also not forgetting the millions of financial assistance that had been given, on the basis of friendship and the spirit of BN. Have we not been grateful, or should we continue to organize strategies to demand and pressure and to stab from behind? When comes election, the ultra kiasu party continues to win.

I was frequently being questioned and attacked that by not being able to master the Malay language does it actually means that there is no patriotism? My answer is yes. As Malaysians, we must always strive to love and assimilate, integrate and respect the all the basis policies of a nation, such as the BM and Negaraku anthem. Henceforth our spirit will be strong and we will fight endlessly to defend the country even to the extent of exchanging our lives for it. The spirit must be present, otherwise, I fear we will either migrate to somewhere else or perhaps renegade and what is more fearful is that we are willing to sell the sovereignty of the nation to another country.

I am not denying the fact that to this day we are still unable to assimilate. Obviously it will never happen due to the continuing political demands and threats. Anyway, if integration is accepted, does it require us to sacrifice or not to love the national identity such as the national language and to respect the national anthem? I used to send my children to SJKC and while over there I heard how they sang the Negaraku anthem and it sounds very funny. If you do not believe, try to record the Negaraku anthem sang by these students. Then we will know the actual position of BM in the vernacular schools. If we include the BM examination results, we will know the fate of BM in the Malay land.

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