Dear Dr. Mahathir. Part 2
Before I proceed, congratulations on being conferred an Honorary Doctorate as well as being awarded the Order of the Republic by Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan. These are indeed great honours and more than deserved by you. You make us proud.
I promised last week that I would write a follow up to a letter I wrote to you last week. Here’s the feedback on that first letter.
It went viral. Some well meaning person felt I needed to be given an identity, so copied and pasted it, then added that I was an English Language teacher. I didn’t need the introduction. What you need to know about me, is this.
I am a Malaysian. And I voted you and your new government in. Now, that we have that out of the way, let us move on.
Other people in their response to my first letter to you, believe that a single voice in a letter will not get your attention and that you are unable to act on my humble requests for you to validate and honour the existence of all other races who chose to make Malaysia their home. I believe that you can, and that it is time you did. I also truly believe, if at all naively, that you will. My request is that it be done sooner than later.
Before I tell you why a second letter is necessary, let me address one more response to my first letter. I was asked why I didn’t write this letter to you in Bahasa Malaysia. Well the answer is because I wrote it in English. And no, it’s not that my Bahasa Malaysia qualifications are suspect.
The truth is, my qualifications for the national language is not SPM or MCE. I have a credit in Bahasa Melayu, the paper that in my time was sat for, only by the Malays. I was challenged to attempt it as part of a supplement to Senior Cambridge, now known as O Levels. It’s was a tough paper,and I had to learn how to write in Jawi.
Till today, why I needed to learn Jawi is anyone’s guess. They are now wanting to bring it back as art. Sigh! But because learning languages is my forte, I did well in that paper. So we can put all this nonsense about who I am and why I believe I have as much right to this countries’ education, resources and privileges as do my Malay friends.
I am a Malaysian. And you Dr Mahathir, very soon, must do something so that I can stand up and be counted as one.
Dr Mahathir , here is how we can move forward.
❗Bahasa Malaysia is our National identity. Anyone wanting to get into National universities needs this qualification. Bahasa Malaysia is crucial to uniting our people and for our nation’s development and identity. If Indonesia can do it, so can we.
❗Private universities, must make Bahasa Malaysia a prerequisite for being conferred any certificate or degree. Done. Get that man up there in MOE cracking on this. No university should be allowed to be set up without Bahasa Malaysia as a prerequisite. Bring back Bahasa Melayu in its original form. Let this paper become the preferred and more prestigious qualification to obtain.
❗As for vernacular schools, if they want to continue to operate, they need to open their doors to students of all races. While some Malay and Indian parents are already sending their children to these schools, more should be encouraged to do so. Make entry qualifications the same for all. Just as you will make entry qualifications into public universities also transparent and standard for all races.
❗Remove ALL religious studies from ALL schools. Do not allow religious zealots to walk through the gates of schools and preach to the multi faith, multi racial student population we have there. THIS IS NOT CONSTITUTIONAL. Leave religious education to the mosques, gurdwaras , churches, temples and Sunday schools. So what happens to the time table? Here’s what is possible.
❗Use the now empty timetable and fill it in with maths and science, the humanities, English Language and Bahasa Melayu. Bring back, and encourage participation in sports. Retrain our soon to be out of job clergy, to become football, hockey, badminton and swimming coaches. Put sport on the timetable, one hour a day, where every student comes out to play. If the students don’t want to play a sport, they can learn a skill. It’s all about getting the races integrated in meaningful pursuits. If the man in MOE can’t do it, I will volunteer my services with my band of merry men and ladies to show him how.
❗Open up Mara, elite Malay colleges and private schools to ALL races, without the ridiculous quota system in place now. Bring in the students on merit, not race. QED
Someone asked me yesterday if I was afraid of what I am suggesting. Am I not afraid that I will be called in? The answer to that is a resounding no. I’ve lived through May 13th. I’m still here. I’ve worked with an education system, filled with bigotry and bias and blatant racialism. I’m still here. Am I not afraid of this letter going viral and you, Sir, calling me in? If that could only happen. Please, please do call me in. I would love to chat over a nice cup of tea and cakes. I’ll buy, my good Sir. I don’t care what the politics are at this stage. Dr Mahathir, you, and only you, have got to fix it.
Neither of us should be afraid. At this point in life, we only need to be afraid of going to God not having completed our purpose for being here now, at this very crucial time in our country’s history. After today, I will say to the only God I know, who lives in me……..I have done what I could and surrender to what’s next for me. What, dear, dear Mahathir, my most precious leader, are you going to say?
I am, as always
Carol Jennifer Soars
Truly & Proudly Malaysian