Ipoh (The Star/ANN) - Chinese education should not be viewed as a racial issue. It should be seen as a system that produces talent that can contribute to the country's economic development, said Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA).
Many Mandarin-speaking talents, regardless of their ethnicity, were the product of the country's Chinese education, MCA President Dr Chua Soi Lek said after visiting SJK (C) Gunung Rapat in Ipoh yesterday.
"Malaysians with multi-lingual abilities are valuable assets that enable the country to tap into the booming market in China," he said.
Dr Chua said China was one of Malaysia's most important international trading partners, with US$100 billion (315 billion ringgit) in bilateral trade volume.
Citing Petroliam Nasional Bhd as an example, he said many of its Malay employees had a good command of Mandarin, adding that the Government had also sent Malay students to Beijing to study the Chinese language.
"Even top Barisan Nasional leaders acknowledge the role of Chinese education amid economic globalisation. It is evidenced as Chinese schools have undergone much transformation," he said.
Dr Chua said the Government paid 2,000 ringgit ($631) to cover almost 90 per cent of the monthly utility bills of each of the Chinese primary schools.
He also said the government, through the education ministry, injected some 95 million ringgit ($29.98 million) to help build seven new Chinese primary schools, renovated eight others and relocated 13 schools.
"So, it is unfair to say Chinese primary schools are being marginalised," he said.
However, Dr Chua was aware that there were shortcomings in the administration of the education ministry.
When officers did not cooperate with the schools to help solve their problems, MCA would intervene on behalf of the Chinese schools to bring up the issues directly to the top officials in the ministry, he said.
On a separate matter, Dr Chua said the Selangor government should take practical action to solve the water issue.
"It's not right for the state government to turn to the Federal Government when the problem got out of hand."