(23/8) Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) urged to look into discrimination against mother tongue schools in the country. Senior Executive of LLG Cultural Development Centre Ng Yap Hwa said that the best way to preserve one’s culture and ensure people’s cultural rights is through implementation of mother tongue education, this has been supported by UNESCO.
But in Malaysia, on the one hand, the government tells the world that we are a multi-ethnic and multi cultures country, on the other hand there is often discrimination against mother tongue schools. The government doesn’t provide equal allocation to Chinese and Tamil schools, it is so diffucult to build a new mother tongue schools, the government also does not promote indigenous people’s language.
He was speaking at the ‘Economic, Sosial and Cultural Rights’ meeting held by newly appointed Suhakam commissioner cum chairperson to the economic, sosial and cultural rights working group Mr. James Nayagam. “Please don’t accuse mother tongue schools for destroying national unity. Recently, two headmasters asked students to ‘go back China’, which were happened in national schools, widespread racism in national schools have driven parents away from national schools. Currently, 60,000 Malay and Indian students are studying in Chinese school, please tell me one case of racial discrimination if you have.” He said.
Ng applaused the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Sabah branch for its effort to collect information about indigenous people’s mother tongue several weeks ago, he hopes that DBP all over the country can imitate DBP sabah branch, providing support to Chinese, Tamil and indigenous publications.
He suggested that the issue of making Chinese and Tamil language as second official languages raised by Penang Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Ramasamy needs to be debated. Suhakam ought to encourage open and rational discussion on such crucial topic, not letting organization such as Perkasa to turn it into a race issue.
He urged the working group to set “tackling racism” as the top priority of the group, “if we can’t do away racism, we can’t achieve economic and sosial justice, as well as cultural pluralism, thus not point we have a discussion here”