Sunday, 29 July 2012

Dong Zong rallies for Segamat school

Updated 8:50pm
More than 3,000 people today rallied in Segamat Johor to pressure the federal government to allow the revival of a Chinese independent high school in the town.

segamat chinese independent school rally 090712 bannerOrganised by Chinese educationist group Dong Zong and local Chinese guilds, it is the third of its kind in four months.

Held at a field in Kampung Abdullah, rally participants mostly wore red to symbolise their struggle.

The event, which lasted one hour, saw two resolutions being passed.

Firstly, participants expressed their support the establishment of a branch for Batu Pahat's Hua Ren independent school to set up a branch in Segamat.

Secondly, participants urged the education department to respect the board of governors of Chinese schools and allow it to have more say.
26 year campaign

segamat chinese independent school rally 090712 04Organisers are hoping that the Segamat rally would have the same impact as two previous rallies, which has seen some success in the campaign to revive an independent school in Kuantan.

Segamat was once home to the Seg Haw independent school which uses Mandarin as the medium of instruction.

However, it was converted into a national type school following the introduction of the Education Act 1961. A campaign to revive the independent school started in 1986.

Many participants carried numerous homemade posters to voice their support for the campaign, including a newlywed couple.

The couple's arrival caused a bit of a stir, attracting hordes of photographers and hoots of approval from the rally participants.

Reps from PAS and MCA

segamat chinese independent school rally 090712 new couple came in supportBride Tey Pei Pin, 22, said she is a resident of Kampung Abdullah and hoped that the future generation would be able to enrol in an independent school in Segamat.

"This is our right," she said, in explaining why she and her husband took time off for this event.
Another participant who was warmly received by the crowd was Normala Sulaiman, PAS' candidate for the Tenang by-election in 2011.

segamat chinese independent school rally 090712  tenang pas candidate cikgu malaNormala (left) was seen signing a petition in support of the school.

Oddly enough, an MCA representative was spotted among the crowd, despite MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek's earlier criticisms of the campaign.

'Work with MCA'Lee Hoon Tee, the state assemblyperson for Jementah, said he was present because he was representing the Segamat MCA division as their leader.

He said his party was with the Chinese people of Segamat, which is why he is donning the campaign's official t-shirt.

segamat chinese independent school rally 090712 mca jementah adun lee hoon tee"I hope Dong Zong and other Chinese groups work together with MCA because our goals are the same," he said.

However, Lee accused DAP and PKR of attempting to hijack the event because their personnel were seen holding banners at the event.

Previously, Chua had accused Dong Zong of launching campaigns at the eve of every general election to cast MCA in bad light.

Dong Zong president Yap Sin Tian denied this, pointing out that the campaign was initiated in 1986 and there has been no official reaction from the government since.

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