PEOPLE who love peace and harmony between races must be worried about the efforts to empower vernacular schools, even more so the likelihood that the Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim-led unity government which is only supported by 11% of the Malays will recognise the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC).
It is no longer a public secret that the Deputy Education Minister Lim Hui Ying will be swift to pursue the aspirations of DAP as the most dominant party in Pakatan Harapan (PH); just look at the numerous ground-breaking ceremonies for the expansion of the SJKC (Chinese national-type primary schools) premises.
“Fake smoke” is added to the air, rising to the sky with the issue of private (Muslim) religious schools (ie primary and secondary tahfiz schools) and even more recently, the issue of the Taliban government and the democratisation of knowledge for women.
At the same time, efforts are being subtly mobilised to empower (Chinese) vernacular schools. The irony is that Anwar will not be able to curb the demand of DAP and this ethnocentrism group.
UEC is a certificate issued by private Chinese schools, schools that flourished during the British colonial period to maintain the Chinese ethnic identity despite being far away from mainland China.
To protect their national identity, the Chinese mining community in the 19th century put in effort to develop Chinese education. In order to enable social mobility, school certificates were provided so that school leavers from Chinese schools can further their higher education in Taiwan and China.
For decades, Dong Zhong has been the main driver of various demands of the Chinese community in their struggle to empower Chinese vernacular schools.
The communal problem that has become the core issue of this country in the post Japanese colonisation era will rear its ugly head with the gap between races widening and worsening.
UMNO-Barisan Nasional (BN) is no longer able to protect the aspirations of the Malays because of their ‘marital affair’ with DAP in the Pakatan Harapan (PH)-BN coalition government.
Mustn’t give UEC recognition
Why can’t we recognise this certificate in our country and what is the loss of recognising UEC to the education system of this country? Although UEC’s rating is higher than STPM’s, we will lose the identity of a nation and even under-estimate our existing education rating system.
Chinese private schools use syllabuses from China, use Chinese national history, use Mandarin as their official language with the aim of strengthening the Chinese national identity, hence giving birth to ethnocentrism. The isolation of one race from the indigenous race will create severe social disparity and social unrest.
Against this background, will these people have true love and affection for Malaysia, or capable to bridge the integration gap between races?
What is the basis of recognising their certification if it is their choice to attend Chinese private school and then build a glass wall between races. We have been independent for more than 60 years, but our race relations remain gloomy and bland.
By recognising the UEC means we have made two big mistakes.
Firstly, this means we look down on our existing national school system and certification rating as well as loosening the long-built nation-state bonding which will ultimately lead to the absence of true self-identity while ruining one’s loyalty to his motherland.
Secondly, the recognition of this UEC means that another bastion of the state and that of social contract will be overhauled little by little.
The PH-BN government will lead the country to disharmony between races and religions given that they tend to incite hatred between races through the social contract. As education is a tool of national unity, disbanding such aspiration means the country faces a bleak and dark future. – Dec 30, 2022
Dr Riduan Mohamad Nor is a member of Central PAS committee and the party’s LESTARI chairman. His opinion (in Malay) first appeared on Harakah Daily on Dec 26, 2022.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.