An Anti-corruption Advocate, the Voice of Conscience
6 Jul 2015
‘Only students of Du Zhong allowed to sit for UEC’
KUCHING: Former magistrate and veteran counsel Chong Siew Chiang believes that Kuantan Chong Hwa High School (Guan Zhong) is not a Chinese independent school (Du Zhong) based on the letter of approval; hence, its students are not eligible to sit for the internal examination to acquire Unified Examination Certificate (UEC).
He pointed out that having a non-Du Zhong students sitting for UEC would be an infringement of Section 69 of Education Act 1996.
“Any individual who contravenes the Section should be guilty of an offence and upon conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year,” he said, adding that such offence would even result in UEC being declared invalid and the school concerned slapped with a closure order.
Chong made these remarks during a seminar on the recent leadership crisis of United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong), organised by Kuching Si Ho Lim Clan Association, at Crown Square here on Friday night.
The letter of approval for Guan Zhong that decides its status has been cited as the initial incident that leads to a spate of unpleasant internal conflicts within the Dong Zong.
Chong asserted this was the reason why Dong Zong chairman Dr Yap Sin Tian and its deputy chairman Chow Siew Hon insisted on adhering to the law and the association’s constitution, rather than risking any Du Zhong being transformed.
“The letter of approval clearly states that the teaching medium for Guan Zhong is Bahasa Melayu (BM). This is totally different from Du Zhong whereby BM is just a subject.
“As stipulated under the Education Act 1996, the government defines UEC as an internal examination. Besides, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is a former education minister, in a Parliament reply dated Dec 18, 1995, said the current 60 Du Zhong in the country should remain status quo under the Education Act 1961, and that only students of Du Zhong are allowed to take UEC examination.”
On another camp challenging and aiming to topple Yap and Chow, Chong said this group failed to observe and abide by the association’s constitution 5(2)(3), 5(3)(1) and 5(a)(9).
According to the said constitution, he said the Central Committee (CC) line-up would have to be agreed on and formed before the election of members for the Central Executive Committee (CEC).
“On Dec 7, 2014, this camp refused to attend a meeting aimed at discussing matters on Guan Zhong. Later, they called for a meeting in the absence of Yap to come up with a new CEC leadership – with the aim of toppling Yap.
“This is the ‘law of jungle’ which we shall no longer use. Moreover, toppling is not gentlemanly. Yap was elected chairman according to the rules of the association, but the so-called new chairman of the new CEC was not elected according to the rules.”
Chong stressed that the association’s constitution ‘is the contract binding all members of the association’.
“In the recent case of Dong Zong, it has become crystal clear which camp was challenging and going against the rules.”
On the arguments by some quarters that the current 60 Du Zhong that were without letters of approval – making them no different from Guan Zhong – Chong dismissed such statement as ‘ignorant’.
“The said letter of approval comes into effect following the enactment of Education Act 1996. Prior to that, the requirement of such letter of approval did not exist. However, the 60 Du Zhong do hold a permit.
“What I have laid out is based on facts and the perspective of the law. As a lawyer who has been in practice for 49 years, not even the judge in court could dismiss my statements – yet there are quarters out there judging me left and right.”
Chong said although the Malaysian government did not recognise UEC, some 600 universities worldwide would accept UEC holders into their institutions.
“UEC is widely recognised by many renowned universities including those in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, China, the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.”
Meanwhile, Yap hit out at Dong Zong secretary-general Poh Chin Chuan, who was responsible for submitting another CEC line-up to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) – a move, if not withdrawn in due time, might lead to the de-registration of Dong Zong.
He said it was evident that Poh and his camp would stop at nothing to achieve their agenda. He thus announced some measures to ‘save Dong Zong’.
“Firstly, Poh and his camp must withdraw and cancel the illegitimate CEC line-up so that ROS would not have two lists of leaderships. Secondly, they must not abuse the power and submit an illegitimate list to ROS since they have access to the passcode.
“Thirdly, their act of producing illegitimate CEC line-up has been branded as contempt of law. They have already been dragged to court and a verdict can soon be expected. Once convicted, there will be consequences.
“And lastly, Poh and his camp have been infringing the rules to induce a series of crises in order to wrest power – people could not help but ask whether such a secretary-general should be retained in Dong Zong.”