Education / Racism

More supporting single school system

A good letter in The Star today:

IT was reported that many race-based organisations object to the proposed single school system for fear of losing the unique identity of their own community.

They believe that when children attend national schools their cultural character will be diluted (“NGOs fear loss of unique cultural identity,” (The Star, Nov 6).

These concerns are surely unfounded and a lame excuse put forward to disagree with the proposition. Are we just interested in our own community only in a self-serving way, or do we have the interest of the nation at heart?

Are we indeed affected by some egocentric racial attitude or have some other hidden agendas? Are we sincere enough in wanting a united people regardless of race, colour and creed? Are we for an equitable civil society living in peace and harmony in this country and beyond? These are questions these NGOs and all other like-minded Malaysians should ask themselves.

Every other country in the whole world sends their young to the same schools to enable them to develop the spirit of oneness. They recognise that this is a critical period in the children’s life when they can readily inculcate the virtues of understanding, sharing and caring among themselves.

Why should we therefore reject this global­ly accepted and proven practice and act differently? How are we going to make 1Malaysia a reality if we can’t even agree on a common ground in educating future generations?

Whether the NGOs want to accept it or not, the multi-stream education system is to be blamed for the current state of racial polarisation in this country. Today we see Malaysians, especially the young, mingling only with their own kind in their daily social activities.

The same scenario can be observed at workplaces, ceremonies, gatherings and functions. We adults have ourselves to blame for this sad situation. It is we who bowed to the pressure of the chauvinists among us by sending our children to specific schools that cater for our individual race only.

To physically separate the young during their primary schools is bad enough. Ironically, now certain race-based NGOs are vehemently demanding that the Government give more emphasis to vernacular secondary schools.

If the Government were to fulfil this demand, there would subsequently be additional vernacular secondary schools. More students will then be able to continue their studies in these schools, thus limiting their opportunity to mix with children of other races.

Even now students at tertiary level are having difficulties socialising, and tend to group together and find comfort only within their own community. I can’t imagine how perilous the situation will be if these NGOs have their way. It will then be a sad day for multi-racial Malaysia!

And what about the pride and dignity of having our own national language? The longer we keep the children in vernacular schools the less exposure they will have to master the language.

What can studying three hours a week in a classroom do to make a child conversant in Bahasa Malaysia? It is imperative that we acknowledge the importance of supporting single-stream schools, especially for nation-building.

The said NGOs would do justice to their own community and the nation at large if they are able to look at the big picture. They should not view everything along narrow racial lines, but instead consider actions that can contribute significantly to the national interest.

Agreed, there are many other issues that need the attention of the authorities to encourage the people to be united, but introducing the single education system should be uppermost in the list.

Kuala Lumpur.

As I said in the previous article; those chinese educationists who vehemently disapprove single stream education are really racists.

I wonder whether all of the chinese or indians or kadazans or ibans became less of what they are when they enrol themselves in national schools.

I have chinese and indian  friends all my life. They remain chinese and indians all their lives eventhough they went to national schools. How chinese or indian do these racist educationists want their children to be? Don’t they want their children to become Orang Malaysia?

The fact is, everyone agrees that the national schools need revamping. That is why the SSS campaign specifically suggested that our education system be reviewed comprehensively. Read their memo here. They are aware of the pitiful quality our national education system is currently operating. But at the same time, vernacular schools of other languages will not help our children to integrate with each other.

How dare the chinese chauvinists calling the SSS as racist when their brethren in Dong Zong are fighting tooth and nail to keep their children from integrating with the rest of their fellow Orang Malaysia especially from at a very young age (primary level).

If you do not want to be part of Orang Malaysia, do tell us. Studying Bahasa Malaysia just 3 times a week not only make your children unable to converse effectively in Bahasa Malaysia, it also downgrade your National Language  (that’s Bahasa Malaysia to you) to third class standard and really unimportant.

Is this your stand?

21 thoughts on “More supporting single school system

  1. What’s your stand on MARA and UiTM.

    Aren’t they fighting against integration as well? When UiTM is just 90% malay?

    JMD : Think further Keith. I’m sure the answer will come to you. Thank you.


    • @ Keith

      We are talking about PRIMARY schools, neither about MRSM which is a secondary school nor about UiTM which is a unioversity. Inter-racial unity and harmony can only be nurtured at primary school stage.


  2. first and foremost,
    selamat raya adha to you and family.

    I have fun reading your blog sir and have used almost all of its contents to help me with my college assignments 🙂 I find your articles exhilirating especially under the ‘history’ category.

    a million thank you!


  3. Jebat bro,

    This issue is getting hotter huh!

    We are Malaysian and Bahasa Malaysia is national language although English is widely spoken. Dong Zong is in my opinion like “sekolah pondok dulu-dulu” or “berfikiran kolot”. Dong Zong must begin to understand the SSS is not attempting to displace their proud values, cultures and heritage. Rather it is a step 1, to national integration. And this step 1 is a few decades overdue. Dong Zong and the likes have been blinded by their overzealous desire to keep their cultural inheritance intact when many products our their desire (the young) are having trouble coping up in SMK’s. It is known fact that these children choose to group away and be among themselves. This is counter 1Malaysia. No other way to put it.

    A niece of mine speaks fairly fluent Mandarin; she attended SJKC and her mother was a school a teacher in the same school. This doesn’t make her less malay. I cannot be wrong on this. Communication is one important element in living. A lack of it will create a lot of misunderstanding and mistrust. This is the reality of the day in this good country of ours, Malaysia. The SSS I believe seeks to address this specifically prevailing unfavorable situation. In more than 50 years we have been trying but with very little success.

    How is the SSS racist when children from all background can come together to learn and play? They can learn about one another faster. They will form new Malaysian culture this way. Bahasa Melayu is a native language. Bahasa Malaysia was adopted as simplified Bahasa Melayu and has lost many significant elements in this adoption. Our children are unlikely to develop understanding of the old Bahasa Melayu scripts we used to be made to learn. And this is lost forever; Jawi writing and Utusan Melayu is one example. This was one of the publication that spirited the Merdeka movements. The Malays are not too nostalgic about it. Even if they are, it is not made an issue. Lose a little here gain a little there. Evolution.

    Culture can be taught and practiced outside school classes much like sekolah agama and fardhu ain classes which are not part of national school system. Most importantly it must be practiced at home too to preserve it. When busy parents leave this learning of cultures and traditions to the teachers, they should know what to expect of their children. The answer doesn’t lie in enrolling children in vernacular schools. Are we at the national level not doing anything to preserve cultures of each ethnic group in this country? Give this job to relevant ministry not the MOE.

    We must also ask ourselves honestly do our children really want this? Or it is good for them in the long run? Children attending SK are already halfway into realizing the 1Malaysia. Is this too difficult to conceive? If parents are for SSS, what role will Dong Zong play?

    Cultures are meant to be lost little by little. We all have to accept it. Do we want to preserve our cultural identity in the way Talibans do? We stay backward if we do.


  4. pelik lah.

    looks macam kerajaan takut nak buat benda yang baik, dan tunduk pada dong zong, mca, mic.

    tak kan konsep satu malaysia hanya retorik kot!

    kalau nak buat, buat je lah.

    adakah dong zong and gangs, represents majority malaysia kah?

    najib takut ke?


  5. DPM and MoE Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has said “he was all for single-stream schools to promote unity and 1Malaysia” – see the Star report linked by the article up there.

    I think it is only a matter of time when all schools in the country would be single-stream. The Ministry of Education a week or so ago announced the standardisation of BM syllabus in SJKCs, a development that took quite a few people by surprise because a simpler syllabus was apparently quietly allowed the SJKCs. It appeared surreptitious. However, the decision was welcome and we expect no more SJKCs doing things quietly from now on.

    Dr Ridhuan Tee, a Senior Lecturer at Universiti Pertahanan Malaysia, said in his weekly Mingguan Malaysia article and blog, “Saya tidak nampak beza SJKC dengan sekolah Cina di negeri China dari segi bahasa, kecuali tambahan mata pelajaran bahasa Melayu 3 jam seminggu?” (He wrote in perfect BM but we sometimes write in English to ensure our target audience get the message fully). The academician has provided a lot of detailed, rational and logical arguments in his articles that have a bearing on single-stream education.

    If the Dong Zong and such people want to follow the ways of Mainland China, when they claim to be citizens of Malaysia, I can understand the anxiety and the strong words expressed on these people from time to time.

    There is no other way to get children at their formative and impressionable age to feel a sense of togetherness with fellow Malaysians than to attend single-stream or SSS schools. The self-alienation and ostracization done by the parents must cease in the interest of a united and cohesive Bangsa Malaysia.


  6. JMD,

    As per my previous comments, I am all out for single stream school. The racism that is being imbedded into our children are becoming very alarming to me as a parent. When I was growing up it was never an issue.

    Recent event my son’s school has shown how deep rooted is the racism being propagated in our schools. My son related the following incident.

    A group on Malay students wanted to play football at the school field so they went to pick up the football from the school sports locker. By the time they come back another group of students, Indian had started playing… the Malay group asked nicely to joint the game but was refused.

    We are talking about students attending the same school and how many football field can there be? The Indian students were apparently rude and refuse to share the field and the Malay students started calling them the deragotary name of “keling” which I was to understand means low class Indian.

    This started a physical scufffle that the teachers had to intervene. Imagine this scene being scaled at national level especially politically? In this case I blame the Indian students for not wanting to share. (I shudder to think if this group of students have politically power) Majority in this school are Malay (more than 50%) and they (Indians) dare to be rude. Again…Wow! Don’t you think that is reflective of what is happening in our society right now?

    Food for thought…especially our poitician and parents…

    Keturunan Jebat


  7. Dear JMD

    The question, is this your stand?

    Very appropriate. Some of us have given up on trying to make these people accept SSS.

    Some felt that we should let them be. We can only bring a donkey to the water….

    What the goverment should do is to try, to make SK the best in the country.

    If necessary, right from Kidergarden.



  8. JMD,

    No where in this world that I had traveled at condone this kind of behavior.

    We need “Assimilation Law” NOW! before it is too late for future generation of Malaysia and Malaysia itself as a country.

    Time for the “Masa untuk duduk bersimpuh, tertunduk malu seperti anak dara” of Malay culture have to end now.

    Source from

    Quote from a speech by MIC President and Works, Telecom and Posts Minister, V.T. Sambanthan in the Dewan Rakyat on June 1, 1965:-

    … in 1955 we won the elections with a great majority. Then we obtained freedom in two years time. During this period, we had to discuss citizenship and various other things. Now what did the Malays do — since we are speaking on racial lines — what did the Malay leadership do? They had 88 percent of the electorate still with them. What did they do with citizenship? If we look around in Asia and East Asia, particularly, you will find that my race the Indian race, is not welcomed in Ceylon, is not welcomed in Burma.

    Look at my brother Chinese race, it is not welcomed in Thailand, in Vietnam, in Cambodia, in all the other areas. What help do they get for citizenship in all these territories? In Burma, as we know, Indians have been send packing, in Ceylon they refused them citizenship and in Burma it is likewise. I know it, you know it. And yet in Malaya what happened? Here we found that the Malay leadership said, “We shall take them unto ourselves as brothers, we shall give them full opportunity to live in this country, we shall give them every opportunity to become citizens.” And so, in 1957, for the whole year, we waived language qualifications, and tens of thousand of Indians, Chinese, Ceylonese and others became citizens …

    As I said, it has been my great good fortune to have been born in this country. Where else can you find a more charitable, a more polite, a more decent race than the Malay race? Where else can you get such politically decent treatment for any immigrant race? Where else in the history of the world? I ask you. These are the facts. Who are you to safeguard us? I am a 10 percent minority race here. But I am happy here.

    (Source: Tan Sri Khalid Awang Osman, Malaysia – An Anthology, Vantage Press, New York, p. 60)

    Quote of statement by Tan Siew Sin, MCA President and Finance Minister in a local daily titled, “Tun Tan Answers Critics on Special Previleges” dated April 30, 1969:-

    The Malays, through UMNO, were generous enough to relax the citizenship laws of this country to such extent that within 12 months of independence, 90 percent of the non-Malays became citizens. This was different to the situation before Merdeka whereas 90 percent of the non-Malays were still non-citizens after nearly 100 years of colonial rule in the Malay States. In return for this major concession. the MCA and the MIC agreed to continue the policy of preserving the special position of the Malays while at the same time upholding the legitimate interest of other communities.

    (Source: Tan Sri Khalid Awang Osman, Malaysia – An Anthology, Vantage Press, New York, pp.38-39)

    To my fellow Malaysian, whatever race you are; “A journey of a thousand miles start with a single step – Confucius” Let us start the first step and be united by accepting Bahasa Malaysia is “THE” Malaysia National Language, no “If” or “But”.

    Abdul Razak Harun


  9. Salam JMD,

    Now that is good letter writing.

    DZ, like many of the pre-Merdeka race based institutions, are clutching at straws.

    It is about survival and a continuity of those in power and what the positions meant.

    DZ is politically affiliated and their masters are even in Cabinet. If DZ is smart it should just stop releasing statements but quietly go along its business as they are actually quite safe in the current political climate.

    It is not just the schools, teachers, or the boards and chairpersons that eventually make up DZ, it is also an industry of textbook publishers, suppliers, and what not all linked behind the scenes.

    The cultural identity loss excuse is just hogwash given that the Cultural Revolution in China and what followed changed the whole cultural identity of the Chinese under CCP rule. The Chinese here was spared that so that is why we still observe some cultural traits in Malaysia which are no longer present in mainstream CCP controlled China today.

    Being typical Malaysians, the parents cannot be counted on to do the right thing, strangely, from my personal conversations with parents who send their children to SRJKC, there are Malay and Indian students in SRJKCs in urban areas. It is an odd phenomenon as there are many national schools in the same area. Not sure if there is a rise in non-Chinese enrollment in urban SRJKCs.

    So do we aim for the head or the tail?


  10. Azleen,

    It gets on everybody’s nerves – those loyal and Constitution-respecting and abiding citizens, that is. Especially the vocal ones, like me.

    There’s no other way to say it but those Dong Zong fellows are not respecting the Constitution of the country. Particularly Article 152, pertaining to the position of Bahasa Malaysia.

    Let’s repeat it again and again (as someone said, “sampai telingaq depa bernanah”!) that it’s wrong to have any other language except BM as the medium of instruction in SJKCs and SJKTs, that these schools should have the same curriculum and syllabus as the SKs, that Mandarin and Tamil can be studied as elective subjects, that the schools don’t have to be physically changed (only the enrolment, medium, curriculum and syllabus changed), that teachers and staff don’t have to lose jobs, as they can be absorbed into the national system.

    That the 3 systems of education (SK, SJKC and SJKT) had existed since over 50 years ago doesn’t mean it is right. They have to be merged into a single-stream or 1 system for the sake of long-term unity and cohesion of Malaysian citizenry.

    The Dong Zong are Malaysia citizens and they must conform to the will of the majority. They certainly are not the majority. Even among Chinese, there are those who send their children to SKs.

    If they refuse, they certainly should think about their loyalty to this country. What else is proof of loyalty other than respect for, abiding by and living with the Constitution of the country.


  11. Dear msleepyhead,

    You are an active participant in the SOPO blog sphere discussion.

    I would like to ask for your answer and seek to understand your thought processes in these questions;

    1. Do you support SSS?
    2. Will you support “Assimilation Law” as implemented in Thailand and Indonesia before (If it is table as a Law Bill in Parliament or a Referendum was asked)?
    3. Your stand on Tun V.T. Sambathan historical statement as appended in my previous comment (Source from ) ?
    4. Your stand on Tun Tan Siew Sin historical statement as appended in my previous comment (Source from ) ?

    Thank you in advance for your answer.

    Abdul Razak Harun


    • @Abdul Razak Harun,

      Sorry for the late reply, been a busy week.

      Your questions are directed to me personally, so here you are:

      1. Yes. As a product of national schools, I saw for myself the self-segregation of students at university level due to language, cultural and stereotypical reasons.

      2. Yes, I would support an ‘Assimilation Law’ if it does not involve religion*. If you talk about name change, spoken language, cultural traits, I have no qualms about it. If you have read some of my earlier comments, you would know that I have talked about those that have ‘crossed over’ and embraced and adopted the Nusantaran culture like the Baba Nyonyas. Still, there are the East Malaysians to think about, so what kind of Malaysian identity can be adopted by everyone? (*It is not Islam, I would also oppose forced conversion to any religion for that matter.)

      3. & 4. are addressing the same issue in essence – gratefulness, I hope you do not mind me combining them. Yes I do fully agree with their views stated in that particular time frame and context.

      I wouldn’t want to be misleading so here is more thought on 3&4. Now this is a tricky one, because if you looked at my answer to 2., it would reveal that I do not take too much to my roots or cultural identity, because I believe that even those evolve with time and we need to know our place in time. Do not get me wrong (and most probably will) but those oft mentioned and famous quotations in the Malaysian blogosphere by the two Tuns, are unnecessary now because we are already citizens by birth. IMHO, being citizens in this day and age, 52 years past Merdeka, would mean that we automatically pledge full allegiance to the country of our birth and those reminders need not arise at all except as history lessons to understand how we came about.

      Similarly, unless you are of that era, I do not see how you can take credit for the granting of citizenship that your forefathers did because if we keep going back it will never end, it would not be fair to just cherry pick historical events that suit our views. I am personally more interested in how we can all move forward in the present tense, hence the comments and questions (that sometimes crossed the line) at DN’s.

      Thank you for your interest in where my personal stand is on those matters, I hope it answers your questions.


  12. Salam JMD,

    A very good letter indeed.Kudos to En Zamri Mahmud.

    Please do not stop promoting the SSS campaign.

    Like your ideas and arguments on every topic.The comments are good too.And they do come in handy for me at times for I have to answer to those people out there that is sooooo narrow minded!

    Keep up the superb work bro.


  13. It theory I support the single school system. but practically I believe that most implementers are not neutral as they should be. I have first hand experiences on these situations. Explaining the case will be to racial.
    When impartiality does not exist the SSS will be a disadvantage to the minorities.

    As such I understand the point of view of those who oppose SSS.

    You can argue that unity is at stake , I believe the resentment if SSS is implemented will be greater then the impact of unity . The government must introduce cultural and studies to all national type schools provide the success of such implementations by way of exam results.

    This will buy in the confidence of those who don’t believe in the SSS. This is a long process. If there is genuine interest for unity this something like this should be done.

    Most of the comments provided here are racial , so everyone here is calling the pot black. me included.


  14. i concur. unity must be nurtured from a young age. as it was before, we integrated well with other races. it’s sad to see “malaysians” unable to speak proper malay other than their mother tongue. it is also sad to know ‘wise’ elders instigate the young to intolerate other races.

    for what ? another singapore ?


  15. National Vernacular Schools humiliates the government effort of National Intergration.

    1. In late 1700, the British colonised Malaya and introduced the system of ‘Divide and Rule’

    2. ‘Divide and Rule’ is the British’s first attempt to avoid national unity among people by categorizing races in specific economic sector.

    3. The same concept applies for National Vernacular Schools

    4. The Malay in SK, the Chinese in SJK (C) and the Indians in SJK (T).

    5. It’s ironic how well history is taught so vividly in school’s textbooks, yet history repeats itself and this time in the facade of the pluralistic primary education of our country.


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