Lee Long Hui & Lee Way Loon
1:51PM Sep 26, 2012
Despite the rain, some 1,000 people showed up this morning at a protest rally outside Parliament to voice their disgruntlement with the government’s alleged discriminatory policies in relation to Chinese education.
The rally, dubbed ’926 Save Chinese Education Protest Action’, was organised by the influential Chinese education coalition Dong Zong and held at Padang Merbok, which is about 1km from the Parliament building.
Wearing raincoats and holding umbrellas, the protesters, mainly elderly Chinese, unfurled banners urging Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to address problems faced by Chinese education, and sang a popular Chinese song Unity is Strength.
The police later allowed 20 representatives, led by Dong Zong president Yap Sin Tian, to enter Parliament to submit a memorandum to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.
The delegates also distributed copies of the memorandum to other MPs in Parliament.
The memorandum listed eight issues:
1. Shortage of qualified Chinese teachers.
2. Non-Chinese speaking teachers being assigned to Chinese schools.
3. Non-recognition of Unified Education Certificate.
4. Delay in the registration process of Chinese school boards.
5. Problems concerning the status of a new private Chinese school in Kuantan.
6. Refusal of government to approve Segamat private school.
7. Funding problems for Chinese schools.
8. Scarcity of land for new Chinese schools.
After meeting Nazri, a triumphant Yap returned to the protesters to proclaim that their exercise was a success.
“We spoke for half an hour and he reflected on many pressing matters facing Chinese education,” he said.
Shunned by Wee and MCA
He expressed hope that the federal government and the education department would quickly resolve the matter. He also hoped that MPs from both sides of the divide would help article their woes.
Several Pakatan Rakyat MPs and state assemblypersons were spotted at the rally point, while PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim and PAS vice-president Mahfuz Omar greeted the Dong Zong delegation at the Parliament lobby.
Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong, who has been blamed by Dong Zong of not doing enough for Chinese education, was no where to be seen.
Meanwhile, several spots near the rally point were scrawled with graffiti in opposition to the rally, insinuating that Dong Zong was in cahoots with DAP.
Ten individuals, who identified themselves as representatives from Persatuan Penguna Islam, were spotted briefly near the rally grounds.
They had unfurled the banner which read: “Don’t politicise education, Dong Zong please leave”.
The ten were ignored and they left after a short while.