3:13pm 19/09/2023
Dong Zong, deputy minister rapped over ban on foreign students

KUCHING: The United Chinese School Committees’ Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) and Deputy Education Minister Lim Hui Ying are ticked off by the Sarawak United Association of Chinese School Boards of Management (Sarawak Dong Zong) over the suspension of foreign student intake in Chinese independent schools.

Sarawak Dong Zong criticised Lim for not paying attention to the ban imposed on foreign student intake in Chinese independent schools right from the beginning.

Sarawak Dong Zong described Lim as acting like a fireman rushing to douse the fire only after the matter was exposed, reflecting her lack of commitment to resolving the issue.

Sarawak Dong Zong also took Dong Zong to task for being an apple polisher, questioning Dong Zong’s stand in defending Chinese education and its capability in resolving issues.

In a statement, Sarawak Dong Zong said the Ministry of Education and Immigration Department had frozen applications by foreign students to study in Chinese independent schools since June.

Currently, Chinese independent schools are not allowed to recruit foreign students.

It said that Dong Zong and its partner the United Chinese Schools Teachers’ Association (Jiao Zong) had failed to resolve the matter through internal channel since few months ago.

“The Ministry of Education is now reviewing the policy and operation of Chinese independent schools. This means that education officers have taken law into their hands by freezing the applications of foreign students,” it said.

Deputy Education Minister Lim Hui Ying.

Sarawak Dong Zong said apart from creating confusion and disputes, such ban is not constructive.

The Ministry of Education should be held accountable or such action taken without instructions would continue, it said.

Sarawak Dong Zong also expressed its disappointment that the restraint had hampered the development of Chinese independent schools.

It said Lim claimed that the education officers banned the intake of foreign students for fear of the abuse of student permits.

She also claimed that after a follow-up with the private education division under the ministry, pending applications by foreign students were approved immediately.

However, Sarawak Dong Zong was of the view that Lim’s statement did not resolve Sarawak Dong Zong’s suspicion nor the issue itself.

According to statistics, a total of 716 foreign students, mainly from Asian countries, are studying in Chinese independent schools across the country as of last year.

A total of 82 foreign students are in Sarawak.

For many years, their applications to study in Chinese independent schools have never been an issue.

“Foreign students who opt to study in Chinese independent schools are mainly those whose parents are foreigners participating in Malaysia My Second Home Program or are investing in the country,” it said.

Sarawak Dong Zong urged the Ministry of Education to consider the interest of the stakeholders first while reviewing the policy and operation of Chinese independent schools to improve implementation and overcome shortfalls.

Taking a drastic and extreme measure will only restrict the development of Chinese independent schools and harm the interest of the students, it said.

“Based on past incidents, the review of education policy has always been unfavourable to Chinese education. The root of the question is that Chinese education has never been accorded fair and reasonable status.

“We urge the educationist groups to defend the rights and interest of Chinese education. The rights should not be compromised, infringed or even silently removed,” it said.


Independent high school
Dong Zong
Lim Hui Ying


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