A letter to NST, from Encik Shivanand Sivamohan of Kuala Lumpur.
Single-school system: One schooling for one Malaysia2011/01/02
SHIVANAND SIVAMOHAN, Kuala Lumpur
THE year 2010, like many before, saw strong calls for the establishment of a single-stream education system in the country. I am fully supportive of this proposal as I believe that such a system is integral to foster unity in a multiracial nation like ours. Some may argue that the present system of multiple streams allow parents to choose which school to send their children to, besides helping to preserve the identity of different races.
But to me, and I believe to many Malaysians, the forging of a united Bangsa Malaysia should take precedence.
A standard education system will by no means eradicate the culture of any race. On the contrary, it will contribute towards moulding our different cultures to create a holistic Malaysian identity.Malaysian children of different races, religions and backgrounds should be brought together to study under one roof, to learn with and from each other.
I am not saying that vernacular schools are completely negative. We have to weigh the pros and cons.
In the long run, the benefit of a single national education system will far outweigh the existence of parallel streams, which are strongly delineated along racial lines.
Various types of schools have been around since independence and there are bound to be parties opposed to the concept of a uniform system.
I admire people like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim, who were courageous enough to point out the value of a uniform education system. Despite being criticised by many educationists and politicians, they have not wavered in their stand.
I am proud to say that I attended national primary and secondary schools, in which my classmates were from different ethnicities.
Sadly, the trend of late has shown a significant decline in non-Malay enrolment in national schools.
We cannot wait until national schools are once again the school of choice for all Malaysians. We have to first make national schools the only choice.
Only then will issues concerning schools be championed by educationists and politicians regardless of race, as they will be collectively working to improve the same system.
My New Year’s wish is that our government will seriously consider implementing single-stream education for the benefit of generations to come.
Another from Encik Zamri Mahmud of Wangsa Melawati, appearing in The Malay Mail.
Let’s stay together well after our recent heady football victory and not let the euphoria go to wasteWednesday, January 5th, 2011 09:40:00
NOW that we are in this new year, it is hoped each and every Malaysian has made it their resolution to ensure we stay united as a people.
Unity is, without doubt, a crucial prerequisite for a multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious country like ours to move forward. This requirement has surely become more significant of late.
We have to acknowledge how challenging it was for us to persevere last year whenever certain irresponsible elements raised contentious racial issues.
Let us pour over these incidents and learn the valuable lessons from them.
Therefore, we should not let up but instead continue to promote and enhance better understanding between the different ethnic groups in the country.
Our unique diversity should be appreciated and harnessed to our advantage instead of allowing it to become a curse.
We should avoid any demand purely based on racial considerations but strive for measures that can bring about mutual benefits and anything that is for the good of the country.
Only by pursuing this middle path can we create a more open and pragmatic society that is genuinely sincere and affable towards each other.
We have no alternative but to create such a cohesive nation, especially in the face of the competition in this globalised era.
To help us achieve this, every Malaysian should be made to understand the spirit of our Constitution which had been arduously formulated by our founding fathers.
We should be guided by this important document in all our national plans and actions, and observe it throughout our daily undertakings.
One important area to be given priority is in ensuring an equitable distribution of wealth among the various communities. This is to guarantee that the different ethnic groups are not inclined to be apprehensive of each other.
No effort should be spared to create transparency and fair play in all of our economic and social domains.
Another pertinent aspect to ensure we stick together is in the field of education. We have seen how children who go to the same school do understand each other better and are at ease with one another.
Towards this end, we should revisit the proposal to introduce the single school system and all right-thinking Malaysian parents should have the wisdom to support it.
Only by being together at a young age can the childreninculcate the virtues of understanding, caring and sharing.
They will then be able to grow up into responsible adults who are more empathetic with each other, regardless of race, colour and creed.
The support and pride shown by all Malaysians for our very own Tigers in the recently-concluded AFF Suzuki Cup prove beyond doubt we can still stay united as a people, no matter what the critics say.
We should continue to work on this newfound ‘good feeling’ and not allow it go to waste.
Thus, it is incumbent on us not only to preserve this special unity and harmony for the future generations to relish but we must also be resolute in our resolve to keep it sacrosanct. We have only ourselves to blame if we end up failing to do so.