Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) Calls for Language and Cultural Diversity and Protection of Mother Tongue

Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) is surprised and shocked over the call by 130 pro-UMNO NGOs, led by the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) yesterday to  abolish mother-tongue education as a new height of the post-GE13 blaming game. That the PPIM has adopted a racist stance instead of enhancing its Islamic and universal endeavours is most unfortunate and extremely disappointing.

These groups are calling upon the BN chairman, Najib Abdul Razak to renege on his promise to upgrade Chinese-medium higher education institutions since the Chinese voters “broke their promise” to support the BN.

GBM stresses that, the right to learn and practice one’s mother tongue is an inalienable right of Malaysians and is protected by the Federal Constitution. Linguistic diversity and multi-culturalism are celebrated and mutually respected by all religions and faiths. It has become part of our education system in terms of delivering social justice, moral, spiritual and ethical strength to create a Malaysian society that is united, democratic, liberal and dynamic (Education Act). It is the way forward for Malaysia to reinforce its position in  tandem with international instruments, covenants and conventions.

mother tongue

GBM urges all Malaysians to stand firm in rejecting cheap and unethical attempts by groups and politicians to question the mother tongue education system that has evolved over the years to provide Malaysia the uniqueness in linguistic and cultural diversity.  Just last Saturday, BN vice chairman  Muhyiddin Yassin reassured that  he would take firm actions to protect all the institutions that had been established to look after the development, harmony, solidarity, security and peace in the country. (Malaysiakini, 8 June 2013)

It is disheartening that the process of reconciliation post-GE13 is continuously jeopardised by unscrupulous groups bent on tainting the colourful and multi-ethnic fabric of Malaysia society with their parochial call to abolish Chinese and Tamil school systems.

These groups need to truly appreciate the processes of democracy which embraces and operationalizes the will of the people through the elected government of the day. It is an irony that the government elected by the people, for the people, is now being coerced by certain irresponsible quarters to act against the will of the very people who elected them.

The government must admonish these racial sentiments, redress its shortcomings and move forward with a progressive national educational agenda. Despite the multiple issues in the nation’s educational system, GBM is optimistic that we can overcome them and benchmark ours against the best in the world.  But acting against the aspirations of the people for linguistic diversity and mother tongue education is unequivocally self-defeating, retrogressive and morally wrong.

List of 25 GBM’s Organisation Members:
1)    The Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
2)    Aliran
3)    Tamil Foundation
4)    Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia (IKRAM)
5)    Majlis Perundingan Malaysia Agama Buddha; Krisitian; Hindu; Sikh dan Tao (MPMA-BKHST)
6)    Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall (NSCAH)
7)    Penang Chinese Town Hall (PGCTH)
8)    The Federation of Chinese Associations Johore State (FCAJ)
9)    Lim Lian Geok Cultural Development Centre (LLG)
10)    United Chinese School Alumni Association of Malaysia (UCSAAM)
11)    Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)
12)    Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
13)    Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS)
14)    Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
15)    Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (Permas)
16)    National Indian Rights Action Team (NIAT)
17)    People’s Green Coalition (PGC)
18)    Anak Muda Sarawak (AMS)
19)    All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
20)    Partners in Community Organising (Pacos Trust)
21)    Persatuan Bekas Siswazah Universiti dan Kelej di China, Malaysia (Liu-Hua)
22)    Nanyang University Alumni Malaya (Nanda)
23)    Japan Graduates Association, Malayia (JAGAM)
24)    Gabungan Persatuan Alumni Uniersiti Taiwan Malaysia (GPAUTM)
25)    Islamic Renaissance Front  (IRF)

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