NATIONAL Unity and Integration Department Director-General Baharin Idris says more and more Malay parents are sending their children to national-type Chinese primary school, indicating that the country’s multi-stream school system is gaining the Malay community’s recognition.
Not only has the multi-stream school system not hindered national unity, more and more Malays are accepting Chinese education, he said, adding that this is a positive development.
Speaking to Sin Chew Daily in an interview published yesterday, Baharin said this is a reflection that the Malay community today can accept Chinese education.
This is tolerance, just like the prime minister has said, which is encouraging, he said.
“This is like all races coming together to celebrate one another’s festivals, and Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Chinese New Year and Deepavali have become celebrations for all Malaysians, and no longer just for specific races.”
Baharin felt that Malay pupils can also do well in Chinese schools or even better (than they can in national schools).
He said the Malay community sees this as an opportunity to advance, particularly when, in the move towards globalisation, the government is maintaining a very good relationship with the world’s two new economic giants – China and India.
In view of this, he said, it is important for us to master more than one language.
In order of importance, he listed Bahasa Malaysia, which is our official language and a must for better communication for all, followed by English, Chinese, Tamil and others.
He said the department plans to roll out pupil’s mother-tongue language classes such as Chinese, Tamil, Kadazan and Iban languages in government-run kindergartens next year for better communication and integration.
Based on Education Ministry’s figures, there were 67,128 bumiputra pupils studying in Chinese primary schools last year, accounting for 12.6% of these schools’ total population of 53,5273.
Statistics showed the number of bumiputra pupils enrolling in Chinese schools had been on the increase since 2010.
Based on 2016 figures, apart from Sabah and Sarawak, Selangor and Johor had the most number of bumiputra pupils in Chinese schools, at 7,007 and 5,804 respectively.