Sep 6, 2006

Uproar In Parliament Over Chinese Schools And Unity


Extracted from BERNAMA
Uproar In Parliament Over Chinese Schools And Unity

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 (Bernama) -- Uproar erupted in the Dewan Rakyat Wednesday after a DAP Member of Parliament (MP) claimed that Umno regarded Chinese national type schools as an impediment to unity.

Several Barisan Nasional MPs strongly criticised Chong Eng (DAP-Bukit Mertajam) and reminded her not to make seditious statements that could cause racial tension.

Datuk Mohamed Aziz (BN-Sri Gading) said Umno had never adopted such a stand and that the DAP was trying to sensationalise the matter for lack of political capital.

"There is no truth to what she (Chong Eng) is saying. Politics, narrow-mindedness and an inclination to believe in rumours are the causes of disunity in the country, not Chinese schools," he said.

However, Chong, in her supplementary question directed at Deputy Education Minister Datuk Hon Choon Kim on Chinese national type schools, claimed that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had also made a statement to that effect.

This prompted Datuk Mahadzir Mohd Khir (BN-Sungai Petani) to dismiss Chong's allegation and demand that she withdraw the statement.

"The honourable (MP) has no proof, and why state that the prime minister had said such a thing. This is slander and a wild accusation," he charged.

Chong defended herself by saying: "The honourable (MP) does not read Chinese newspapers and so is not in the know. These newspapers have said that the prime minister had stated that Chinese national type schools impede unity."

At this juncture, Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Lim Si Cheng tried to calm the situation by asking Chong to stop raising her supplementary question but after repeated appeals by Chong, he permitted her to proceed.

Hon, in his reply, expressed disappointment over the DAP allegation against Umno in the matter.

"For the information of the honourable MP, BN MPs including those from Umno have never rejected Chinese schools. In fact, the MPs for Sungai Petani and Sri Gading, for example, have provided financial allocation to Chinese national type schools in their constituencies.

"Chinese national type schools have curriculum similar to that of national schools, only the medium of instruction differs.

"How many Chinese national type schools have been closed? Where did she hear that Umno regarded Chinese schools as an impediment to unity? So, don't politicise the matter. Do not say all these things to pit us (BN members) against one another," he said.

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