18 February 2010

An Interesting Part of Tun LKY's View

This is an excerpt of Tun Lim Keng Yaik's Interview by The Edge Financial Daily taken from www.theedgemalaysia.com, Feb.18, 2010.
TEFD: Tun, do you think we are more polarised now than before?
LKY: Yes. The implementation of the New Economic Policy. The rise of religious extremism. And the application of human and universal rights by the non-Malays. And education and facilities in schools and universities which have not been balanced over time. I use that word because they have enough doctors and accountants and lawyers and yet the quotas still apply. Opportunities in education and universities have not been balanced over time. This kind of things, you have to rebalance from time to time.
TEFD: Talking about a high-income economy, can we do it?
LKY: This is difficult. If they don’t change the education policy, they cannot achieve high-income economy status. If the education policy doesn’t change with the passage of time, to produce the right human resources for the needs of this country, then we will regress and not progress. A high-income economy must be based on people, equipped with the best knowledge and retained for the country’s use. Then we may stand a chance. If not, we can talk till the cows come home and we will regress and not progress.
TEFD: So, isn’t the PPSMI reversal a step back for the high-income economy drive?
LKY: In my memorandum to Dr Mahathir, I said that Maths and Science should be taught in their mother tongue in primary schools while English periods should be increased. And then English should be made the medium of instruction for Maths and Science in secondary schools. In modern education methods, there are better ways of educating people in languages than what we are currently doing. We can use audio and video to teach languages instead of the rote system. For that, I used to argue with Dong Jiao Zong in 1972 when I was still in MCA and asked them, how much Chinese do you want a Chinese to know? The East Ender Londoner speaks English which none of us can understand and yet they are Englishmen. Equip students with enough content in Chinese to enable them to read and write and converse in Mandarin. Or do they want every Chinese to be a literature expert and quote proverbs only Chinese in China understand? If 3,000 words is enough I can’t see how they can’t pump the students with the words within six years. I’m English educated but can they say that I’m not a Chinese. Those days I couldn’t even speak Mandarin although I’ve picked it up now and can give a two-hour lecture in Mandarin without being able to read Chinese. They want their mother tongue education, forgetting they are in Malaysia. Undoubtedly, the Chinese Malaysian is very appreciated in the last 20 years in the international circuit. To those who have been exposed, the Chinese from here are better appreciated than those from other countries like mainland China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Hongkong and Singapore. Chinese from Singapore are very educated but have their noses in their foreheads. China Chinese are hillbillies although they are very much different today. Those from Taiwan will eat you up and swallow you lock, stock and barrel. There won’t even be bones coming out. And the Hongkong Chinese only care for themselves and nobody else. There is nothing to say about the Indonesian Chinese as they have even lost their names. To appreciate that, the Chinese in Malaysia, being influenced by other races here, their mannerisms, eating habits and appreciation of multiracial society that makes them what they are, should be confident of that. People outside the country compliment the Chinese Malaysians for being well mannered, know how to mix with people, caring and don’t impose on people. All these good characteristics come from here. What’s wrong? If 3,000 characters are enough to maintain our mother tongue then that should be good enough. And then we can spend more time learning English and Bahasa Malaysia. There is no doubt that the Malays in this country need help. In any country, it’s the rural people who need the most help. It so happens that the rural people in Malaysia, 90% are Malays. It’s a rural problem and not just a Malay problem. Like Dr Mahathir in The Malay Dilemma says, You change the environment, you change the race. The NEP should help Malays and enlarge the cake to allow others to have a piece of the cake. But you must help the great proportion of Malays who live in the rural areas and change their environment, state of mind and thinking. What the government has failed to do is help build entrepreneurs from the Malay masses. Although professionally they have built up enough people, there are not enough businessmen. The Chinese entrepreneurs are needed to help. Instead of being jealous of them because they have the experience and capability, they should make use of them by instituting genuine bumiputera-Chinese joint ventures. Genuine and not Ali Baba style. Incentivised and monitored by the government, by certain departments. If we can monitor capital and business structure in the country, why can’t we incentivise these local joint ventures for a purpose? That is to build up local entrepreneurship among the Malays. But those who are not working must be removed without fear or favour, whether they are Umno or not. But it must be monitored by the government so that those who are sleeping, lazy or have their own agenda should be removed and replaced by more genuine ones. But we have wasted 40 years. The ones who think they can become rich quickly by joining politics should be condemned and kept out of politics and government. You know it but don’t dare say it. I’m saying it now. In a way, I’m saying that Umno should remove these fellas. There are 50,000 Class F contractors, what for? The famous words are sub, sub, sub, sub. No wonder, our computer labs have only two tiangs and one roof and then collapse. If you appreciate the experience and capability of the Chinese, why can’t we do it? The Malays should be inculcated with the value that you can make money not only through your own people but through others as well. It can be tax-free and exposure to capital when there is a Malay partner. It can be incentivised by the government and monitored. I always ask, do you need a Malay to help a Malay? When oil palm went up, it benefited the 75% Malays. 50% of the oil palm is produced by Felda and 25% by PNB corporates. But I’m a Chinaman who has helped the small Malay stakeholders be it rubber or oil palm planters. They wanted to subsidise cooking oil when the bulk of it is consumed by Chinese. Want to die ah? Taxing the poor Malay to subsidise the Chinese. They wanted to impose excess profit taxes on oil palm because of envy of KLK, IOI’s profits but they forgot about Golden Hope, Sime Darby and Guthrie and that 50% of the smallholders are from Felda. I tell you, I give up la talking to this government.


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