red arrow 

 red arrow 



Press Statement (2) by Chong Eng in Bukit Mertajam on Tuesday, 2nd March 2010:

Instill democratic principles in school, not take away rights to vote

If national leaders such as our Prime Minister can be selected via democratic elections, then Education DG Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom's recent press statement about reverting to the basic in selecting head prefect by appointment and the Education Ministry's ban on school election do not hold water. The DG's statement which implied that election is about popularity rather than leadership is clearly misguided. Running a effective campaign is definitely a test of leadership. In fact, one cannot merely learn leadership from books, but rather, through practice such as in leading and running a campaign.

SMK Raja Uda in Penang and other schools in Malaysia which ran elections to select their head prefects should be commended and more such elections such be encouraged. Democracy is not something we acquire suddenly when we grow up. Instead, the principles of democracy must be instilled and practiced from young age. If Malaysia is to mature to another level in our democracy, we must allow our younger generation to be exposed to the democratic process in every way possible at an early stage of their lives. The process will help to build and strengthen leadership qualities, learn to respect the choice of others and most importantly learn to accept failure graciously. These are urgent messages about democracy which we need to send to our younger generation.

Democratic elections have been held at various levels in our country including at the University to select representatives to the students councils. Other countries have also held elections of student leaders at high school levels. I urge the Education Ministry therefore to be more visionary and look ahead before making such blanket ban on head prefect elections.

And lastly, by taking away the votes from students of forward looking schools such as SMK Raja Uda, are we sending the wrong message that democracy does not work and we are reverting to the authoritarian rule of the "big brother"?

* Chong Eng, DAP Deputy Secretary General, DAP Wanita Chairperson, DAP Education Bureau Chief & MP for Bukit Mertajam



Valid HTML 4.0 Transitional