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10 APRIL 2024

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The woes of Chinese community – Tay Tian Yan

Let's make an assumption: You were living on a landed property and the lot next to yours was vacant.
Your lot was not big enough for you and seeing that the lot next door was not used anyway, you decided to dismantle the fencing and expand your territory. You subsequently started a vegetable farm there and have made good harvests since.
No one talked about this over the next 20 years, so you assumed you had the right to use the land.
In the 21st year, nevertheless, the owner of the next lot suddenly showed up and said, "I'm the owner of this land and I want it back now to build a restaurant!"
If right then you said, "No way! I've been using the land for 20 years and I'm not going to give you back now," then the proprietor would bring the case to the court and you would have to surrender the land, plus a charge for illegal possession of other people's property.
On the contrary, if you were to sit down and talk to the owner nicely, things might not end up this way.
For example, you could explain to the proprietor that the vegetable farm production is for the public and the harvest would benefit the poor in the neighborhood. So, it is more for the community than own profits.
The land owner might then think, since it is for the good of the community, I may not need to take back the land for the sake of everyone.
As the land belongs to him, to safeguard his right, he would lease the property to you but still hold the ownership right, which is fair to all.
The land dispute between Chin Woo Primary School and the ministry of tourism can be resolved this way, too.
Indeed, the land on which the school's basketball court was built belongs to the government, and the land has been allocated to the tourism ministry.
Sure enough the school board and Chinese community are against the ministry taking back the land, but this has to be done in a rational manner.
We cannot claim that the land belongs to Chin Woo just because the school has used it for so many years. Neither can anyone claim that the land should be given to the school since it is for educational use, more so for a Chinese primary school.
Chinese education must be run in a reasonable way, not by force.
Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa has proposed RM1,000 lease to Chin Woo for 20 years, with a review due in the 15th year.
The government has made some compromises, indeed, but as the land owner, it is just not possible for the government to give away its property for free, and this is very straightforward.
Chin Woo Primary School can continue to keep its basketball court and the land around it without having to worry that the school will be charged for illegal possession of the land or that it will be taken back by the government.
Since the land doesn't belong to you and you can now use it at such a cheap rate, you should be thankful you've got the best deal unless you have either IQ problem or some hidden agenda.
It is understood that the school board chairman Oo Tin Fuan has accepted the proposal, but as the third party, Dong Zong has stepped in to oppose, accusing him of betraying the Chinese community.
Oo has worked very hard for the school, and with a solution now comes in hand, he should feel relieved that the school facilities can eventually be saved. While sympathizing with him, I feel I need to tell him this: "You don't really understand the intricacy and risks pertaining to the internal affairs of Chinese education; neither are you aware of the political and ideological complications of this issue to land yourself in this whirlpool."
Chinese education, including the Chin Woo Primary School incident has been manipulated and exploited by some quarters.
We will only earn the respect of others if we are sincere to resolve the crisis with a pragmatic and open-minded approach.
This is the attitude all Chinese educationists must have, and the way forward for the sustained development of Chinese education in this country. - Sin Chew Daily

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