UCSCAM’s Press Statement
16 December, 2013
Full Support for the Demand to Build a Tamil High School!
During an activity on December 1, Datuk R.S. Thanenthiran, the President of the Malaysian Makkal Sakti Party (MMSP), demanded the government to set up a new Tamil High School, citing that there had been a lot of independent Chinese high schools, but not a single Tamil high school, ever since Malaysia’s independence 57 years ago. It was therefore the Party’s wish to have a high school with Tamil as its main medium of instruction and administrative language. The United Chinese School Committees’ Association of Malaysia (UCSCAM or Dong Zong) would like to render its full support on this matter.
Malaysia is a country of diverse ethnicity, religion, culture and language. As such, setting up a high school with Tamil as its main medium of instruction and administrative language conforms fully to the propagation of the Indian culture and language. The demand is in full tandem with the Malaysian spirit, the country’s constitution as well as United Nations human rights mandate and educational rights of minority groups to their mother tongues stipulated by UNESCO.
Looking back at Malaysia’s educational history, we can see that the first Malay school was established in 1860, while the first Tamil school, in 1880. Then in January 1958, the Malay community and educational circle requested for a Malay high school. 56 years later, with strong backing from the government, Malay education has blossomed and progressed by leaps and bounds, outpacing the educational development of other languages. However, a Tamil high school is still nowhere in sight.
Indian civilization is one of the four greatest civilizations in the world, and Tamil is undoubtedly an integral part of that civilization. It is therefore a grave mistake, or even a full-blown tragedy, to ignore it or hinder its rightful progress. We feel that this situation has to change, and that the demand by the Malaysian Makkal Sakti Party (MMSP) is one that keeps abreast with the times. If the government is totally sincere in its mission to transform Malaysia into a developed country in 2020, then the establishment of a Tamil high school is timely and a definite must. This will be an acid test to racial unity and harmony and national development, the key agenda of the National Unity Consultative Council launched by the government.
Under the uncompromising umbrella of educational equality, we feel that other ethnic groups in the country such as the Ibans, Kadazans etc must also enjoy equal and comprehensive rights to education in their mother tongues. The government is urged to take firm measures to support and uphold the existence and development of all mother tongue education.