Every few months some political wannabe will raise the issue of the national-type primary schools – i.e. the Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SJKC) and Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (SJKT) – causing serious impediment to national integration.
Bahasa Malaysia learning is impeded, disunity is heightened, national schools are sidelined (Good lord, how? Because of competition?), and some other ludicrous reasonings. Then proponents of vernacular schools will explain or defend.
I stopped wondering many years ago on the hows and whys this accusatory nonsense is continually repeated. There is no remedy for committed nincompoops.
The most recent salvo is through Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Youth chief Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal who was concerned that our national identity could be compromised.
He may or may not know that our independence statesmen Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Tan Siew Sin and Tun V.T. Sambanthan deliberately chose to use the integration concept instead of the assimilation model, like that in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
I suppose there was a choice because independence was won together by all Malayans and no one came in after; and perhaps the decision on integration was to imprint that fact?
Which brings us to this – why does enrolment of non-Chinese Malaysians keep increasing in vernacular schools?
It comprises some 20 per cent now. In some schools it is even up to 30 per cent!
I know this popularity is a constant point of pain and contention among Malay-based political and right-wing societies. All these schools are located outside housing estates, with some locations even forming part of the city centre over time.
Why then do parents elect to take an hour or more to send their children to these schools when there probably is a national school five or 10 minutes away from their homes?
Besides, there are the never-ending fundraising activities.
There are about 1,300 SJKC and 530 SJKT and they are part of our national school system and therefore they receive federal funding. But the development budget is always grossly inadequate.
It certainly cannot be based on their performance record. Ever wondered why large event halls are a standard feature in the bigger SJKCs? Yes, it is for the much needed rental income from wedding receptions, conferences, convocations and commercial exhibitions.
When the SJKC students are placed in national secondary schools, they routinely make up the top classes in Form One. Those who didn’t do well in BM are placed in Remove classes for a year to catch up.
To be effective in approaching this issue, more Malay Malaysian notables must speak up.
Do make serious studies on how and why vernacular schools, especially the SJKC, consistently produce top students.
It is well known they are particularly strong in mathematics. Work on this to boost our STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiatives. If studies are already done, then work on the execution plan to embed those success factors in national schools.
Make no mistake about it, the SJKC’s output is a Malaysian achievement. Sharing is their kewajipan.
Primacy of race is unadulterated hogwash. That’s the least we can learn from the repulsive Nazi ideology.
Every Malaysian community’s achievements belong to Malaysia. All Malaysians gladly cheered Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Datuk Nicol David on in their multiple successes. Let’s learn from what made these two stellar Malaysians tick the way they did!
For the committed nincompoops, let us assure them that bigotry-led stupidity is for the sewers!
This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.