Chinese education groups lodge police report against NSTP papers for claiming SJKC students not keen on learning BM

The average passing mark of Chinese vernacular school students in the subject at the SPM level had exceeded 90 per cent in recent years.

(MMO) – Chinese education groups have reportedly lodged a police report against several articles in New Straits Times Press (NSTP) Bhd publications accusing students of SJK(C) public schools of being reluctant to learn Bahasa Malaysia.

Online news portal Malaysiakini reported that Malaysian Chinese Language Council (MCLC) president Datuk Eddie Heng Hong Chai told a press conference yesterday that it lodged the report at the Sentul district police headquarters on January 21.

“[The power of] prosecution lies in the hands of the police, not us. We are not pressing charges for prosecution. We just want awareness of the party to take note of the seriousness of the damage done and to make a publication to correct the earlier articles. This is our whole objective.

“Unless [the police] investigation shows that there are some ultimate motives in sensationalising the issue, to create public disorder and so on, that we leave it to the police,” he was quoted as saying.

Malay Mail is currently attempting to confirm the report with the police.

He also reportedly accused the reporter who wrote the article for New Straits Times (NST) titled “SJKC pupils not keen to learn BM” published on January 18 of misleading its readers, as only two teachers were interviewed for the piece.

Heng reportedly added that the teachers were merely sharing difficulties faced by their SJK(C) students in learning the language.

Malay daily Berita Harian, which like NST is also part of NSTP, published on the same day a Malay article titled “Murid SJKC tak minat subjek Bahasa Melayu?”.

MCLC legal advisor Uma Gunaseelan reportedly said that the articles run by NST and Berita Harian can be construed as being seditious under Section 3(1)(e) of the Sedition Act, which defines “seditious tendency” as any act which promotes feelings of ill will and hostility between different races.

The offence is criminalised by Section 4(1) of the Act and those found guilty could face fines up to RM5,000 and three years of jail time.

The council expects an update to be given this week, Uma reportedly added.

Heng reportedly said due to efforts of Chinese education groups and SJK(C) teachers to improve the grasp of Bahasa Malaysia of their students, the average passing mark of Chinese vernacular school students in the subject at the SPM level had exceeded 90 per cent in recent years.

He reportedly added that MCLC had written to the news outlets regarding the matter but had not received a reply.

The Chinese education groups had no intention to press charges against the reporters but instead to remind the press of the seriousness of the issue and for them to publish corrected versions of the articles, he explained.