Gerakan to kick off nationwide tour with debriefing sessions on proposal to amend Education Act Dominic Lau Hoe Chai: Move is to ensure vernacular education system is included in the Education Act

Press statement by

Gerakan Vice President cum

Chairman, Central Publicity & New Media Bureau

Dr. Dominic Lau Hoe Chai

26 March 2014

Although vernacular education system has cultivated many talents for our country over the years, the issue on whether or not it should be abolished remains a hotly debated topic ever since the Independence Day. The supporters and opponents of the abolishment issue have not been able to come out with a general consensus on it. At the same time, the government has also taken a vague stand on the issue by recognizing vernacular schools as a part of our education system yet unfairly allocating resources to these schools. As such, certain Chinese and Tamil primary schools are relying on social support to finance their development or renovation projects. Most importantly, the constant worry over government’s decision to close down vernacular schools remains as the main concern among the education groups. Their concern is not without a reason, as the interpretation of “main medium of teaching” in Article 17 (1) of the Education Act 1996 does leave some room for people’s imagination.

Gerakan Vice President cum Chairman of Central Publicity and New Media Bureau, Dr. Dominic Lau Hoe Chai stated that, as a multiracial party, Gerakan is taking a firm stand on safeguarding mother tongue teaching and vernacular education system in the country. He believed that multiple aspects such as political system, social structure, importance of Chinese language, globalization, and the study of United Nations on mother tongue education have changed immensely 18 years after the introduction of Education Act 1996. And most importantly, the Education Blueprint introduced last year also recognizes the significant contributions of vernacular education to our country. Hence, Gerakan believes that the Education Act 1996 should be amended immediately to reflect the rising influence and contribution of mother tongue language and vernacular education to our country.

Lau also said that a working team under his guidance will be organizing debriefing sessions around the country throughout the year to propose for amendment of Education Act 1996 to recognize the statutory status of vernacular education in the country. These sessions aim to collect public opinions, debrief people on their work progress of Education Act reforms, and to pressure the government into accepting the public request.

The first debriefing session will be held at Dewan Orang Ramai Kawasan Union Sentul, 51000, KL on 8 p.m. in the coming Friday, March 28. There will be more than 60 local and education groups attending this session to-date. In response, I call for the public to participate in the event. If in doubt, please kindly contact Mei-ling at 012-3755265 for further clarification.

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