Problems of Tamil schools need to be solved urgently
Today I posed a question during the Question and Answer session of the Parliament meeting as regards when the promise of building of 6 new Tamil schools will become a reality.
In late January this year, the Prime Minister Datuk Sri Najib made the above promise. The feeling that the BN Government was finally hearing the Indians was echoed by MIC and community leaders.
In March and in June 2012, I had raised this issue in Parliament asking for a definite date as to when the building of the 6 Tamil schools will take off.
I had to press the issue as I was given to understand that although the Prime Minister had made the announcement yet the Education Ministry was totally unaware of this issue. In fact, till today the Education Minister or the Ministry officials have not made any public statements on this issue. Why the silence?
Thus today I further raised the issue and said “Najib had in late January 2012 also announced that the Cabinet had agreed to build six new Tamil schools in urban and semi urban areas where the need was most acute with the rural urban migration of Tamil families in the last three decades.
Urban Tamil schools are crying out for expansion and new buildings as they are currently overcrowded with many parents preferring them to national schools.”
I further said that the majority of the 523 Tamil schools are in the rural or semi rural areas where the Tamils used to live to earn a living in and around plantations areas. But this situation has changed considerably as the over 80% of Tamils are now in the urban areas but where there is an acute shortage of Tamil schools.
I also showed the Tamil newspaper(7/10/12) which has listed out the various achievements of Prime Minister Datuk Sri Najib in his last 3 ½ years as PM in comparison with Pakatan Rakyat’s Chief Minister’s M and Mentri Besar’s achievements.
This advert listed out the details of Federal Governments allocations for various projects for the Indian community and in particular it made special mention of the proposed building of 6 Tamil schools.
I said this advert is misleading as the issue of Federal and state Government differs and the budget of Federal Government runs to over 240 billion compared to the total PR run state Governments which does not exceed Rm4 billion. One can’t compare an orange with an apple.
The Deputy Education Minister Dato Wee Ka Siong said the Federal Government had identified the 6 areas where Tamil schools are to be built and is in the process of transferring these lands to the name of the Ministry of Education.
He went on to assert that the BN Government had allocated RM370 million( 2010-2012) for the refurbishment and maintenance of Tamil schools and it goes to show the commitment and seriousness of the BN Government.
I refuted Wee and said the sudden interest in the Tamil schools is not because the desire to uplift the Tamil schools but mainly to win the votes from the Indian communities.
In 2008, the Indian votes who number about 8% in Malaysia had largely voted against the BN Government thus even MIC Minister and Deputy Minister lost their parliamentary seats.
The Government must realize that it is just too late of the day to expect the Indians to swing back to BN with such handout.
Be it so, the building of new schools and relocating the schools from the rural schools to urban areas must be an ongoing process. Why not a single new school was built previously but now there is a sudden interest?
In 1957, there were 888 Tamil schools. Then there were less than 50,000 students.
Now we have a total enrolment of over 100,000 students. 58% of Tamil school going children are enrolled in Tamil schools. The interest and quest to learn mother tongue has been on the uptrend for some time. The number would be higher if only more schools are located in urban areas where the majority of Tamils live and work.
The incompetence and lack of appreciating the importance of Tamil school has resulted in many Tamil children being denied the opportunity to study in the Tamil schools.
The Federal Government should with urgency build the 6 Tamil schools which in any case could have been completed and students enrolled next year if only the BN Government has been more understanding and serious on this issue.
The relocation of Tamil schools from rural areas to urban areas must be speeded up so that the present shortage of Tamil schools in urban areas could be overcome.