KUALA LUMPUR: The public has been urged not to be overly-sensitive towards Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's blog post, which some mistakenly believed was advocating the closing-down of Chinese vernacular schools.
"Tun Mahathir did not say he wanted Chinese vernacular schools closed down," said deputy MCA president Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong.
"He was only outlining the reality that financially well-off families are able to send their children to private and international schools," said Dr Wee, who is also a Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.
In his blog chedet.cc, Dr Mahathir said the current education system has led the rich to enrol their children in expensive international and private schools to receive English education, leaving poor Malaysians to study in national schools.
"When we talk about liberalisation of education, parents are given a choice to choose which schools they want to enrol their children in," said Dr Wee during a press conference at the Sunway Convention Center.
He added that Malaysians have choices when choosing the institutions for their children's education, be it national schools or private schools.
He also said private schools were not exclusively attended by the rich.
"There are single mothers who labour tirelessly day and night just to send their children to private and international schools. It is their choice and we should respect that," he said.
Dr Wee believed Dr Mahathir's intention was to highlight the income disparity between the rich and the poor.
"The Government is trying its best to breach the gap but we cannot make everyone in the country rich," he said.
He urged the public to stop speculating about the future of vernacular schools."There are provisions in the Federal Constitution which have allowed national schools, vernacular schools and even private schools to grow for the past 50 years," said Dr Wee.