The Education Minister Datuk Mahdzir Khalid has admitted his earlier mistake and said that the new “Bina Bangsa” module, once implemented, would affect both national primary schools and vernacular schools.
DAP Parliamentary Spokesman for Education, MP for Bukit Bendera Zairil Khir Johari had yesterday questioned the need for the “Bina Bangsa” module to be introduced only in vernacular primary school when the non-Bumiputera enrolment at national schools were at an all-time low.
Zairil said that contrary to general perception, national schools are actually now more mono-ethnic in its make up as compared to vernacular schools, especially Chinese schools.
He also said it was very “mischievous” for Mahdzir to imply that vernacular schools were an obstacle to national unity as such an assertion was without basis.
Zairil stressed that what the ministry should do instead is to look into the values that are imparted as well as the quality of education available, especially in national schools.
I am glad that the new Education Minister has taken heed of Zairil’s criticisms but there is an even more fundamental question about Mahdzir’s proposal of a “Bina Bangsa” module.
The nation has just celebrated the 58th Merdeka anniversary, but what should be a matter of grave concern is the absence of the spirit of Malaysian nationalism even among Cabinet Ministers and top government leaders as distinct from their communal affinities and loyalties.
This is very obvious from the numerous speeches made by UMNO Ministers and leaders in the various UMNO divisional meetings in the past month – showing that some of them are just Malay supremacists with no appreciation or acceptance of the 1Malaysia objective of trying to be Malaysian first and race second.
Mahdzir himself is one such example, as from his reported speeches at Kepong, Kota Bahru, Hulu Langat and Kota Raja UMNO divisional meetings, he has come over as one of the “Malay supremacist” UMNO leaders who reject the 1Malaysia objective of trying to be Malaysian first and race second.
It is Mahdzir and other UMNO Ministers and leaders like him who continue to be racially-minded instead of trying to be Malaysian first and race second who should be the first to undergo the “Bina Bangsa” module and not our school children.
Mahdzir has still to respond to the demand by church groups in the country who want him to apologise for his “Christians splitting Malays” wild allegations during his UMNO divisional road-show.
Rev Dr. Herman Shastri, the secretary-general of Council of Churches (CCM) had asked Mahdzir to apologise and clarify what he meant when he accused the minority faith group of being in cahoots with Jews and London-based whistleblower site Sarawak Report of an attempt to divide the Malay Muslim majority.
So far, there has only silence from Mahdzir, doubling doubts about his suitability to be Education Minister responsible for the upbringing of the young generation of a plural society with diverse races, languages, religions and cultures into one united national entity.
Even after his appointment as Education Minister, Mahdzir was spewing racial ill-will and polarization among the races instead of promoting unity and harmony.
I do not think it is necessary for me to detail the obnoxious and anti-national things Mahdzir had been uttering at the various UMNO divisional meetings, which is why he and other UMNO Ministers and leaders of like-mind should be the first to undergo the “Bina Bangsa” module to become more Malaysian minded and less race-centric.
Others who should be sent to the “Bina Bangsa” module are UMNO/BN leaders who insist on racializing non-racial events, as demonising the Bersih 4 overnight rally on August 29 and 30 as a Chinese challenge to Malay political power, as if the 40% of the Malays at the second day of the Bersih 4 rally in Kuala Lumpur of over 300,000 people and the Indians, Kadazans and Ibans who took part in the Bersih 4 rally in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching in huge numbers did not exist!
It may serve the agenda of communalists to distort and demonize the Bersih 4 rally into a Chinese rally against the Malays, when it was in fact an unprecedented coming together of Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region, age, gender or even politics, to demand a clean government and free and fair elections.
Bersih 4 was in fact an important milestone in Malaysian nation-building as the 500,000 Malaysians who converged in Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu on August 29 and 30 came not as Malays, Chinese, Indians, Ibans or Kadazans; Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs or Taoists; but simply as Malaysian patriots who care for the future of the country and the coming generations.
It is still not too late for the Prime Minister and the Umno/BN Cabinet and Government to embrace the Bersih 4 spirit instead of trying to vilify Bersih 4.