Muhyiddin and 'puppet-master' MCA lambasted for "uncivilized" Dong Zong comment
Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin came in for a tongue lashing for calling a Chinese educationist group "so uncivilized", in comments that critics said were arrogant, smacked of racism and only underscored the growing divide between the Chinese community and the ruling BN coalition.
"I won't mince any words on this. Muhyiddin must be out of his mind to say such a thing about Dong Zong, which is not only well-respected but contains some of the most diligent minds in Chinese education. If anyone is uncivilized, it is Muhyiddin himself. An uneducated person is one who doesn't what he is talking about and this is Muhyiddin," PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng told Malaysia Chronicle.
"It is also too bad of the MCA not to correct Muhyiddin and instead help to propagate such a bad picture of Dong Zong just to save their own skins. Dong Zong has been around for many years fighting for Chinese education. Instead of asking for forgiveness and changing its ways, MCA is trying to turn Dong Zong into a 'bad guy' so that it can escape being ostracized by Umno for not taking care of the Chinese better and putting at risk the BN's chances in GE13. This is MCA for you."
An unpopular Education minister
Muhyiddin, who is also the Education Minister, had also accused Dong Zong of telling “big lies” in claiming that the BN government favored the Malay-language schools over the Chinese vernacular institutions.
“Dong Zong held a big rally where they threw things at my deputy minister. So uncivilised. They said we have ignored their problems for decades. This is a big lie,” Muhyiddin was reported as telling some 500 vernacular school teachers at a function in Selangor on Thursday.
The 64-year-old Malaysian deputy premier is not a popular Education minister. He is not well regarded by the non-Malays who primarily see him as a racist in the mould of former premier Mahathir Mohamad, following a famous remark for which Muhyiddin has refused to retract - that he is Malay first and Malaysian second.
Last year, the DPM stirred up another cauldron of racial tension by refusing to withdraw Malay novel Interlok from a mandatory reading list for secndary school students. The book written decades ago had described the Indians as "pariahs" and also derogated the Chinese who had come to colonial Malaya to start new lives.
To the Malays, Muhyiddin is also viewed as incompetent for his plodding style and recent failure to fully revert the teaching of Math and Science back to mother-tongue.
MCA pulling the strings?
In his latest comments, Muhyiddin referred to a rally held at the New Era college last month, which had been organized by the Dong Zong orUnited Chinese School Committees Association. At that rally, top BN leaders - in particular from its Chinese component, the MCA - were conspicuously absent. Only Wee Ka Siong, the Deputy Education Minister and MCA Youth Chief, attended.
"MCA didn't dare show its face. It was invited and all of us who attended did so in the spirit of mother-tongue education. Teachers, lecturers, parents, activists from across the political divide. Not only DAP and PKR but also Malay leaders from PAS were there to lend support. Yet MCA, which is always boasting about how it much it contributes to Chinese education did not dare attend," PKR vice presdent Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.
"In the end, the grouses boiled over and became more than just a question of insufficient Chinese teachers at Chinese-medium primary schools. It was about how the people had trusted the BN and MCA all these years and giving them their votes, but in the end discover they have been sold down the river. This is why the crowd rushed at Wee, they were sick of his excuses and his party. This is something for Muhyiddin to address instead of behaving so childishly and calling Dong Zong uncivilized. With his type of track record, who is he to say such a thing?"
Tian also slammed the MCA for the latest fiasco, which he said reflected the MCA's insincerity towards the Chinese electorate.
"I also want to question MCA's motives, do they they have a hand in Muhyiddin's 'uncivilized' comments? After Wee was chased away by the crowd, he and the other MCA bigwigs tried to stir up a lot of trouble for Dong Zong. They blamed everybody including the ordinary people who attended the rally, except themselves. But in the end, they only received more brickbats and now, they are using Muhyiddin to excuse their own weaknesses. It is really time for the Chinese to totally reject them," said Tian.
We have always been fair - Muhyiddin
Nonetheless, according to Muhyiddin, the government spent equally on all national schools, regardless of whether the medium of instruction was Malay, Mandarinor Tamil.
All national schools had problems, and not just Chinese schools, before citing a shortage of teachers who were proficient in English, he stressed.
Muhyiddin also said the government spent an average of RM2.24 million per Chinese school, RM1.99 million per Tamil school and RM2.26 million on national schools teaching in Malay.
“The difference is very small. We have never sidelined schools just because they teach in Mandarin or Tamil,” said Muhyiddin.