KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — Chinese independent secondary school students have won Bahasa Malaysia choir and writing competitions organised by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Dong Zong and Jiao Zong said today in highlighting the national language’s significance in vernacular education.
The United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) and United Chinese School Teachers’ Association of Malaysia (Jiao Zong) pointed out that Bahasa Malaysia was a compulsory subject in all Chinese independent secondary schools, whose medium of instruction is the Chinese language.
“More importantly, Dong Zong and Jiao Zong are agreeable to the criterion of a credit in the Bahasa Malaysia paper in SPM as a requirement for the government to recognise UEC (Unified Examination Certificate) and to allow Chinese independent secondary school leavers to enroll into local universities.
“All these show that the status of Bahasa Malaysia as the national and official language will not be jeopardised at all should UEC be recognised by the government,” Dong Zong and Jiao Zong said in a joint statement.
The two associations denied claims that the UEC syllabus in Chinese independent secondary schools was imported from Taiwan.
“The UEC syllabus was drafted based on the national education curriculum standards of the Ministry of Education, Malaysia.
“All subjects were developed with reference to the curriculum standards issued by the Ministry of Education and international general principles of the secondary education,” they said.
Dong Zong and Jiao Zong also said the History subject in the UEC syllabus comprised about 57 per cent national history.
The two education groups urged the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to handle the UEC issue in a “pragmatic, professional and rational” manner.
“It is the opinion of Dong Zong and Jiao Zong that the new government should demonstrate its determination to shed the old political dogma of Barisan Nasional and develop a new state of affairs, in light of the change of government since the formation of Malaysia.
“It should employ new way of thinking and new point of view when reviewing and reevaluating some of the longstanding, prickly educational issues that have bothered Malaysians,” they said.
There are currently 61 Chinese independent schools.
Students typically sit for the UEC examination during their Junior Three and Senior Three years — or the equivalent of Form Three and Form Six in national schools. The UEC is recognised in Singapore but it has limited recognition in Sarawak, Selangor and Penang.
Education Minister Maszlee Malik reportedly said yesterday that the PH government will stick to its manifesto and recognise the UEC as a legitimate entry requirement for students in public universities.
PH, in its GE14 manifesto, promised to recognise the UEC for entry into public universities.