Hishammuddin’s directive barring transfer of SK pupils to SJKT/SJKC unlawful & unconstitutional

The Cabinet on Wednesday should strike out the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s directive under Section 8 of 1996 Education Act in unlawfully and unconstitutionally barring national primary school pupils from transferring to Tamil or Chinese primary schools although a revers transfer is allowed.

As pointed out by DAP MP for Ipoh Barat, M. Kulasegaran last week, many parents have complained that they have not been able to transfer their children from national primary schools to Tamil or Chinese primary schools, as the policy of the Education Ministry is to allow only a one-way transfer – from Tamil or Chinese primary schools to national primary schools but not vice versa.

Kulasegaran cited the case of a 37-year-old woman who had sent two appeals to the Education Ministry to transfer her eight-year-old son from national primary school to a Tamil primary school, but was rejected on both occasions on the policy ground of “racial integration”.

In the case in point, her son and three other boys had been caned by a female teacher in a national primary school in Perak state for turning up late for an Arabic language class for which she had lodged a police report in February this year.

The school however denied that it had forced any non-Muslim pupil to attend the Arabic language classes. Unhappy with that school, she transferred her son out temporarily to another primary school in Kuala Kangsar while waiting for approval for his transfer to a Tamil school.

Perak Education Director Datuk Mohamed Zakaria Mohd Noor had confirmed in the Star last Tuesday (22nd May 2007) that there is such a policy directive barring the transfer of pupils from national primary schools to Tamil or Chinese primary schools.

He said the policy was meant to encourage racial integration, adding: “We advise the parents (of this pupil) to stay in the national school. Whatever complaints you have, please come forward and we will discuss them seriously.”

Although the Education Minister has the powers under Section 8 of the 1996 Education Act to issue policy directives and regulations to give effect to the law, it is clearly provided that such Ministerial powers are limited both by the enabling Act and the Constitution.

Section 8 specifically stipulates that the Minister’s powers to issue “directions of a general character” must not be inconsistent with the provisions of the Act.

The Preamble of the Act declares without any ambiguity the “general principle” which the Education Minister must uphold — “that pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents”.

Furthermore, this fundamental principle of the parent’s freedom of choice in education specifically recognized in the Education Act 1996 is also given constitutional protection in Article 152 (1)(a) and (b) on the inextinguishable right of a Malaysian from “using (otherwise than for official purpose), or from teaching or learning, any other language”.

Education Department officials can attempt to dissuade parents who are minded to transfer their children from national primary schools to Tamil or Chinese primary schools, but they must respect the constitutional right of the parents to make the final decision.

The Education Minister and Education Department officials must realize that to deny parents their freedom of choice in education recognized by the Education Act 1996 and the Constitution is both unlawful and unconstitutional and invites constitutional challenges in the courts.

MIC President, Datuk Seri Samy Vellu and Cabinet Ministers from MCA, Gerakan, SUPP and other Barisan Nasional component parties from Sabah and Sarawak should take a common stand at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday to ensure that the provisions of the 1996 Education Act and the spirit and intent of the Constitution are fully respected by the striking out of the Education Minister’s directive barring the transfer of students from national primary schools to Tamil or Chinese primary schools.

Hishammuddin should be aware that the arbitrary and unlawful prohibition of transfer of national primary school pupils to Tamil or Chinese primary schools by way of a Ministerial directive runs afoul of internationally-recognised principles and declarations on the parents’ fundamental rights of freedom of choice in education for their children.

This is particularly pertinent as Hishammuddin is spearheading Malaysia’s bid for a seat on the executive board of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) at its 34th annual general meeting in Paris in October. One purpose of Hishammuddin’s educational visit to China is clearly to lobby for China’s support in the UNESCO board election in October.

It would be most unfortunate if Hishammuddin’s refusal to uphold and respect the parental right to freedom of choice in education for their children as spelt out in the 1996 Education Act, the Malaysian Constitution and international instruments and declarations on the right to education of children becomes an international issue putting Malaysia in the dock.

  1. #1 by izrafeil on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 9:42 am

    aiyo, this ini melanggar hak asasi, juga melanggar perlembagaan malaysia,

  2. #2 by toyolbuster on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 9:50 am

    I won’t be surprised that this 37yr old woman had voted MIC in the last GE. She could probably be from Ijok and had voted for that indian cikgu from MIC. How about asking Samy now.

  3. #3 by megaman on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 10:01 am

    well … let every chinese or indian parents know about this and very soon no chinese or indian children will be enrolled in national schools.

    The reasons ? Very simple.

    The dropping standards of national schools and the freedom of choice.

  4. #4 by good coolie on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 10:09 am

    As is usual, one’s only recourse would be to test the Constitutional
    right in court. It’s a pity that one cannot even chose which type of school one whishes for one’s children.
    One factor limiting the right of transfer would be the facility of the child in the vernacular concerned. The child has to be tested soundly to ensure he or she could cope with instruction in the vernacular. Maybe Keriswielding had this in mind in coming out with the policy.

  5. #5 by Cinapek on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 10:51 am

    The non UMNO members of the Cabinet should speak up and do not allow this unconstitutional directive to be implemented for the simple reason that once the precedence is set, in the minds of the education bureaucrats, it becomes a law and not a directive anymore. The seizing of corpses, breaking up families, forced rehabilitations are all manifestations of these kind of bureaucratic mindsets.

    The Education minister has to ask himself why he has to resort to force to make parents want to transfer their child OUT of the national schools. Every parent wants a good education for his or her child and so, there must be something seriously wrong with the national schools for the parents to want to move their child to a SJKT.

  6. #6 by FuturePolitician on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 10:52 am

    Hishamuddin doesnt need anymore of the non-malay voters, he has his core malay supporters. He doesnt need MIC,Gerakan or MCA support anymore.

    Many like Hishamuddin, young and egoistic..purportedly to be future leader for the country whom believes solely owns by the malays.. the ethnic groups like Orang Asli are too naive to understand, Nutty MIC leader whom is in the world of his own, MCA..till today i still think ling liong sik is the leader.., gerakan? DAP?

    Maybe i just give up trying to make a different..I cant change history alone., without someone assisting or allowing these changes to happen.

    Good luck to us all Malaysian..especially the non-malay.

  7. #7 by proz on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 10:55 am

    wow, great idea!
    but useless…..

  8. #8 by lakshy on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 11:44 am

    …..but can switch to international school?…….hmmmm

  9. #9 by democrate on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 11:55 am

    As usual, Cik Gu in the SK, could not speak simple English,but force to use English as medium of Instruction to teach and end up with half past six or ROJAK language. I m sure the Education Ministry had come to know all these problems since the implementation of English to be used as medium of instructions for Science and Mathematics. Now that the parents have realised that its is difficult for their children to absorb whatever being taught as most of them do not speak English at home . Thus, they appeal for transfer to the School of their own mother tongue. This is another failure in our Education system.

  10. #10 by Jimm on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 12:00 pm

    Well, that’s what we can get went BN control 2/3 of Parliament eversince. Soon, we will have more changes to our religion and even name …. ha ..ha ..
    The best is yet to come ..

  11. #11 by Cinnamon on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 12:55 pm

    Since when Arabic language became part of Malaysian culture? It is an undeniable fact that Malays learn Arab purely because of the religion.

    Why is Arab language made compulsory for non-Malays? The teacher had the guts to cane the student.

    This is violation of basic human rights. Schools cannot force students to learn a language which is not part of national constitution. You need to help this parent. Although she had made a police report, I bet nothing will happen. strongly suggest that you take up this case just like what you did for Marimuthu’s case. Make this an example for the rest of the schools. That teacher need to be punished.

  12. #12 by sotong on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 12:56 pm

    The significant increase in enrolment of Chinese and Tamil schools is the result of failure of national schools for various reasons.

  13. #13 by sotong on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 1:04 pm

    There is no national approach to education and to create a healthy environment for students from all backgrounds to mix, learn from each other and grow.

    This is why racial polarisation is at its worse in decades…….the education system had failed.

  14. #14 by mendela on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 1:07 pm

    How can we expect a kris waving Education Minister to be fair?

    This monkey is the biggest hyprocrite in Bad-awi cabinet!

  15. #15 by Sergei on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 3:12 pm

    For sure I’m a DAP, PKR or PAS voter in the next GE.

    ………the MCA

  16. #16 by rayden on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 3:48 pm

    just to let u know, if my vote doesnt goes to DAP, it wont go to BN either.

  17. #17 by BioLovepulse on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 4:56 pm

    I do take the factor of language into account when a parent attempts to transfer his/her child from a National school to a vernacular school. It DOES exist. Just that special arrangement is made for the child so that he/she can cope with the curriculum in Chinese/Tamil respectively.

    I have encountered a real-life case of Chinese learning Jawi in a Malay environment (however he does not convert into Islam). I blame neither the school nor the person, since there’s no conflict of interest involved. I just feel that whatever one learns in school should be relevant to one’s life later. One has the right to choose their own subjects.

    Then what about Wawasan school? Smart school? Cluster school? Or even Premier Schools? Based on my research, the smart school project have yet achieve significant results (I even receive negative remark from students of pilot projects!). So are we expecting another bunch of nonsense from the educators and students?

    As a person who has just finished secondary school, I find that our system has too much compromise for students. Students not handling their work on time, they beg their teachers to extend the period, lowering the passing mark, etc. etc.
    No more sympathy should be given to people with horrible attitudes. Only we force them out of comfort zone, they’ll realise how harsh the real world is.

  18. #18 by ihavesomethingtosay on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 5:34 pm

    Why he go china? for china dolls? for the yummy food? lots of talk about learning from china………… just a show trip, what a waste of money, either he retracts or do not, we still need some one more capable than him, he should resign

  19. #19 by Toyol on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 5:45 pm

    How to have racial integration when the laws of the land are already racists in nature! The laws favour the majority often at the expense of the minority. Racial intergration is all political propaganda. No such thing exist in Bolehland. SORRY.

  20. #20 by gerald on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 6:53 pm

    Perhaps Uncle Lim can ask lawyer Karpal to file a case in Court to test whether this directive is constitutional ? Once this is blown into a big issue, perhaps there is still some slim hope because general election is just around the corner. We cannot let the opposition benefit from this issue, right?

  21. #21 by Jong on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 10:49 pm

    This is very disturbing indeed. I just refuse to believe it’s happening here!

    YB Lim, we must get to the bottom of why Education Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein gave such a directive which is unlawful and unconstitutional under Section 8 of 1996 Education Act. What is his motive?

    ~ “barring national primary school pupils from transferring to Tamil or Chinese primary schools although a revers transfer is allowed.” ~

    This was confirmed by Perak Education Director Datuk Mohamed Zakaria Mohd Noor, unless he has been “misqouted”.

    Every parent should have the ultimate right to choice of education for the child, more so the right to opt the child out of ‘sensitive classes’. In this case, I believe the reason behind the mother’s request to transfer out her child is due to her displeasure and opposition to her child being made to attend Arabic classes, or for whatever reasons best known to her.

    Perak Education Director went on to say that the policy was meant to ‘encourage racial integration’.
    If that was the true intention, too bad much animosity has derived from the way the Education Ministry handle the case. Also the elegant silence of BN component parties – MCA, Gerakan and MIC was deafening!

    It is erroneous belief that the Education Minister has the right to issue such directive, made with total disregard to the rights and sensitivity of non-malays and non-muslims of this country.

    I would like to hear what MCA, Gerakan and MIC has to say on this. Are they not looking into the interest of the People they are supposed to represent?

    We truly have enough of them, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Let’s send the temors this coming General Election!

  22. #22 by fighter on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 10:57 pm

    I think it is time we bring this type of problem to the international audiences. Since Hisham is lobbying for an executive post in UNESCO we have to draw the attention of UNESCO of this case to indicate that he is not fit and suitable for such post. Can YB give us the address of UNESCO so that we can petition to UNESCO not to appoint him.

    Only by lobbying internationally can we hope for any change as Ministers and Prime Minister treat us all as impotents. That is why despite of ill treatments inflicted to its non-Muslim citizens the PM could dare to address in Europe and lately in Japan how well Malaysia’s inter-faith relation record was. This masquerade must be unmasked. The way to do this is to inform any international body the truth of what is happening in Malaysia if PM or any minister is asked to address or lobby for any post.

    Once the PM or any minister realises that his true record will be exposed internationally than he can no longer treat us as impotents and treat us better for fear of being exposed. This means we all must be pro-active and ready to go for international audience. If we as individuals,NGOs and political parties act in concert to lobby hard international bodies not to appoint ministers who have poor record, surely this will make ministers more responsive to our human rights.

  23. #23 by japankiller on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 - 1:07 am

    Hishammuddin is crap..

    He is just a sampah masyarakat, making chaos between Malay and non-malay. His objective in life is not doing good faith to the country, in fact he is playing with a racial card to win his seat. Useless leader.

  24. #24 by dawsheng on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 - 1:43 am

    “In the case in point, her son and three other boys had been caned by a female teacher in a national primary school in Perak state for turning up late for an Arabic language class for which she had lodged a police report in February this year.”

    Getting harsh in the process of assimilation? It looks like the intepretion of school and its purposes to Hishamudin is clearly misunderstood, maybe his intent is something else. Could our schools and the childrens sent to these schools learnt as much knowledges contains in our universe or they may just be learning how to be loyal to Hishamudin, our future Prime Minister? Hishamudin’s educational blueprint might just be Hismamudin’s blueprint to become a Prime Minister. You don’t want your kids to learn about him, a racist.

  25. #25 by k1980 on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 - 7:47 am

    Hisham is lobbying for an executive post in UNESCO — the only post he is fit for is the janitor in charge of cleaning the toilets there

  26. #26 by FuturePolitician on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 - 10:29 am

    Change your mindset of the government, you still have the notion or the picture in your mind that the current government will again rule the country and the main aim of many would be reduce the majority seats in BN.

    If we aim to be set up an alternative government , we aim to replace the current administration with a newly elected by the people government, we need to setup a new Party similar to BN structure(Everyone knows this) and creat component party for those whom wish to defect from other parties.

    TODAY, I believe many would want to defect BUT to where??? They are staying put until someone has the vision and taking action to setup a component party for them to defect.

    Mr.LIM, I am vaquely understand the role of DAP and yours…what is the future for us? Sometimes I dont want to read about what is happening..I want to know what have you plan for n0n-malays..and for the other poor malay..or FOR Malaysian for once.


  27. #27 by MALAYSIANbukanMALAYSIAN on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 - 11:51 am

    What has Otak Keris learned from his recent trip to China?
    What’s he going to do to improve the quality of education here?
    Will he be just like his previous predecessors; to give it a final blow?
    What has his Deputy Hon done to improve the quality in our own Chinese primary schools?
    Is MCA sweeping all the issues under the carpet?
    Is MCA worthy to champion the Chinese education in Malaysia?

  28. #28 by Jong on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 - 12:31 pm

    Spot on, FuturePolitician! ..but the sad truth is our opposition parties are still unable to sincerely sit down to strategise their plans.

    Malaysiakini’s front page “Don’t set pre-conditions, DAP tells PKR” already reveals the doubt of any sincerity, if at all exist between them. This is definitely not good publicity.

    I agree with FuturePolitician that many would want to defect but WHERE TO?

    It’s time overdue that DAP and PKR get serious, get their acts together for the sake of the nation and be ready to form the next government.

    Hopefully with a carefully chosen “shadow cabinet” in place to boost the the People’s confidence, it will then send tremors across NSEW of the country.


  29. #29 by crosstalk on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 - 3:55 pm

    How to achieve national integration through having the sekolah kebangsaan when we are already divided for the past 37 years over the bumi n non bumi issue?Real bullshit.

  30. #30 by karlmarx8 on Thursday, 31 May 2007 - 12:16 pm

    There shall be no integration for the next 100 years. This is the Land of the Prince. Unless you are one of the princes. For the last 3 years there have been “opening” up is because of these are sandiwara to make you people happy and make you believe they are people of democracy, and “can work together” -that you can write “so long within the laws”…

    Some political institutions already becoming a “Department of Chinese or Indian or whatever Affair”……

    They will fight for you to clean the drains, fix the roof, tar the roads, but conveniently forgetting to get you well secured within the society, gaurantee your rights under the constitution, getting you through education, getting well attended in medical issues etc etc

    If you are not happy, you can leave and happily they were offer you a morning breakfast of nasi lemak and teh tarik! So, when you are free you can draw your sampan to the shore again-anytime you are welcome! MalaysiaBoleh!

  31. #31 by accountability on Sunday, 3 June 2007 - 5:01 pm

    looks like kerismudin is applying the same lame argument as lina joy’s case, once masuk, cannot keluar

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