JOHOR BARU: Demands for Chinese education should be respected as such schools provide a choice for the kind of education parents want for their children, said Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The former prime minister said despite pressure from certain parties while he was in the government, he still went ahead and approved the application by Foon Yew High School, an established Chinese education provider in Johor Baru, to set up branches in Kulai and Seri Alam here.
"I hold on to a philosophy that education must be open to all and Malaysians have a right to choose what kind of education they want for their children.
"Our forefathers chose the road of integration for the country and not assimilation like countries such as Indonesia and Thailand where not a Chinese vernacular school can be found there.
"Chinese education should not be an issue, what is important is that the schools continue to educate future generations whose hearts and minds are loyal to the country," he said at Foon Yew High School Seri Alam campus here on Thursday (Feb 24).
An appreciation ceremony was held to thank him for his role in setting up the schools.
He approved the Kulai branch in 1999 when he was the education minister and Seri Alam in 2016 while he was premier.
Najib also said the school’s warm reception reminded him of the Chinese proverb, "those who drink water from the well, do not forget the person who dug the well".
Asked whether his efforts with Chinese education would garner Chinese support for Barisan Nasional in the March 12 Johor polls, the Pekan MP said he hoped so as it was proven that the coalition was a "moderate government and not racist".