Umno information chief Annuar Musa made his first appearance at United Chinese School Committees' Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) to have a better understanding on Chinese education and Unified Examination Certificate (UEC).
On a lighter note, he joked that the purpose of his visit was to gain votes from the Chinese community.
This came after Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob had said that Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara)-owned Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) does not acknowledge the UEC.
This contradicted Annuar who said UniKL recognises UEC because it is a private university. He said this when he was the Mara chairperson prior to his suspension.
Today at 10.30am, accompanied by Gerakan vice-chairperson Dominic Lau, Annuar and 13 Umno information bureau staff visited the Dong Zong headquarters in Kajang.
His entourage was greeted by 18 Chinese education group representatives, led by Dong Zong chairperson Vincent Lau.
During the 90-minute meeting, Dong Zong presented a briefing on three UEC references before the press conference was called.
Enlightened by visit
Annuar expressed his appreciation to Dong Zong for giving a comprehensive briefing on Chinese education, Chinese independent schools and UEC.
“Previously, I did not have much knowledge about Dong Zong and I admit I had some prejudices. (After this visit), I am enlightened regarding the context of the UEC curriculum and how they are overcoming the recognition problem.
“I am here for the first time. I want to make it very clear that as the Umno information chief, I rely on facts, and not on sentiments in issuing statement.”
Vincent thanked Annuar for his visit and for clearing some misunderstandings on Chinese education.
“We appreciate you for coming and allowing us to explain what is Dong Zong and UEC about. We hope you can play a role to foster a working relationship. More importantly, it's a positive step towards UEC recognition.”
He added that Chinese schools are not the obstacle for national unity, to which Annuar later agreed.
Just like Colgate salesman
Asked whether his presence showed that the government only plays up the UEC issue prior to general elections, Annuar initially denied it.
“Before the general elections, we need to handle many issues and perceptions. Don't say we only do work as the election is near. It's natural that many issues crop up before the polls.”
However, when pressed further, the Ketereh MP jokingly used the analogy of a toothpaste salesman promoting his product.
“Our job is, of course, to gain vote. Don't be in the state of denial. In politics, you must impress the rakyat. Vote we must gain.
"Just like a Colgate salesman who sells his product to customers, more so in politics which involves ruling the country?”
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is expected to call for election this year although it is due by June 2018.- Mkini