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Depoliticize education and recognize UEC now

  • It is necessary for the government to speed up the recognition of UEC and not to defer it any further.

Sin Chew Daily

Following the announcement by the Sabah state government to recognize the UEC certificate, and a report to be submitted by the UEC special committee to the education minister, UEC recognition once again become the focus of Malaysians' attention.

The special committee led by Eddin Khoo was supposed to submit the report to minister Maszlee Malik on Monday, but this has been unexpectedly postponed. Khoo said the committee needed some time to complete the details and would only submit the report next month.

UEC recognition has been one of the election pledges made by the PH, and that the Malaysian Chinese community is particularly concerned about. Unfortunately, this whole thing has always stayed at the stage of the committee.

The longer the issue is dragged on the more impatient the Chinese community will get and people will begin to feel that PH is not sincere in honoring its promises.

We believe that the committee has already made a conclusion but because of political reasons, the PH administration has been hesitant to formally recognize the UEC certificate.

If politics is really a major concern, then it is utterly necessary for for the committee to make arrangements to consult parliamentarians on both sides of the political divide and get their opinions. Khoo has himself reiterated that UEC recognition had developed into a racial issue now and as such depoliticization was necessary to prevent the issue from getting increasingly complicated.

UEC has always been a controversial issue for the past for decades or so, and the issue has been continually exploited by politicians to advance their respective motives.

It is now time to look at this thing in a more macroscopic way so that a conclusion can be drawn within the shortest time possible to meet the aspirations of all Malaysians, and the final report must be made public for all to inspect.

The PH government must pick up some lessons from its previous mishandling of ICERD and Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. PH's failure to consult the public over these two major issues resulted in their ethnicization and eventual withdrawal. Currently any issue can be racialized and religionized and PH has been indecisive for fear of losing support.

It is hoped that UEC recognition will eventually become a win-win solution for all parties.

As a matter of fact, a multi-stream and high quality education has always been a key to the nation's success. In no way should education be politicized. However, if we look at our public education system today, it simply has too much racial and religious influence such that many Malaysians have lost their faith in our education system. It is now time for the government to do something to reverse this situation.

According to a recent Sin Chew Daily report, senior educator Dr Tan Ai Boay said the dialogue organized by the special committee on UEC showed that majority of Malay youth organizations were ready to accept the government's conditional recognition of UEC. She pointed out hat parents, education workers and youths had transcended racial and socioeconomic aspects to demand high quality and diverse education, which the government must sincerely adhere to. As such, it is necessary for the government to speed up the recognition of UEC and not to defer it any further.


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