PETALING JAYA: Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong has urged the public not to be too sensitive over Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s latest blog post.
“Tun Mahathir did not say he wanted Chinese vernacular schools closed down. He was only outlining the reality that financially well-off families are able to send their children to private and international schools,” said the MCA deputy president.
In his blog, the former prime minister said the current education system had 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 have a choice over which school they want their children to enrol in,” said Dr Wee during a press conference at Sunway Convention Centre.
He added that Malaysians had a choice over the institutions for their children’s education, be it national school or private school.
He said private schools were not exclusively attended by the rich.
“There are even 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 it,” he said.
Dr Wee said he 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 rich in the country,” he said.
At another function, Dr Wee said gross domestic product (GDP) growth for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) had surpassed national GDP growth by 1.5%.
“In the last few years, SMEs have gained tremendous respect from economists and governments alike as one of the most important engines of sustainable economic growth,” said Dr Wee, also a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
From 2004 to 2012, the GDP for SMEs had been growing at 6.6%, compared to the national GDP of 5% annually.
“With the implementation of the National SME Masterplan 2012-2020, SME growth is expected to pick up further,” said Dr Wee at the Asia Pacific 2014 Tint-off Championship, also at Sunway Convention Centre.
The championship is organised by security tint specialist Llumar, featuring 14 teams across Asia in a competition to find the best automotive tint installer team.