Federal govt urged to withdraw discriminatory proposal to set up ‘elite’ tabika

Abdul Aziz Isa

KUCHING, Oct 3: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Batu Kitang branch chairman Abdul Aziz Isa criticises the proposal made by the Community Development Department (Kemas) to set up an ‘elite’ tabika (kindergarten), claiming that it may cause a greater divide in the community.

Abdul Aziz, who is also the special assistant to Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen, in a press statement today questioned the fairness of the federal government in formulating its early childhood education policy for the rural children.

According to Abdul Aziz, if it is true that the federal government led by Parti Peribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) is fair for all, then it should reject the ridiculous proposal which recently received brickbats from the public.

“If the proposal to set up the ‘elite’ tabika receives a nod from the Cabinet, it shows that the federal government has failed in creating a fair, just and equal society and failed to provide equal access to education at a very early stage of life among the rural children in this country.

“Giving a nod to such a discriminatory proposal is akin to embracing a capitalistic system which creates two classes of society, (namely) proletariat and bourgeoisie,” he said.

He also questioned, if the World Health Organisation (WHO) is of the view that the government and civil society should work with families to provide all children with equal access to quality and constructive environment, then what is the purpose of setting up ‘elite’ tabika, if it does not provide all children with equal access to quality and constructive environment.

Thus, he pointed, the ‘elite’ tabika proposed by Kemas is contrary to this aspiration in early childhood education.

Abdul Aziz said, under the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration, the democratisation aspirations of early childhood education have been pioneered before with plans to incorporate early childhood education institutions through the establishment of a special committee.

He claimed that the then PH Cabinet has approved the formation of this special committee which will play a role to jointly regulate the establishment and operation of early educational institutions for children in Malaysia.

At the same time, he also suggested that instead of widening the gap among children, the Perikatan Nasional (PN) led federal government should be striving to improve the quality of early childhood education and care.

“The proposal of this ‘elite’ kindergarten is ad-hoc, hasty and not a comprehensive solution for early childhood education and care. If the new leadership under the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry does not play a key role in discussing such an important matter, it will create a larger gap among rural children.

As such, Abdul Aziz urged the federal government to withdraw its plan to set up ‘elite’ tabika for the sake of unity and equal society among rural children.

On another matter, he also handed out more than 1,000 face masks to four kindergartens in the Batu Kitang constituency.

The face masks were handed over to each tabika representative namely to National Unity and National Integration officer Rose Jonathan Gawau (representing Tabika Perpaduan Kpg Haji Baki), Rosema Lohem (Tabika Perpaduan Kpg Bumbok), Stephanie (Tabika Kemas Kpg Tematu) and Tapeng Kinot (Tabika Perpaduan Kpg Semeba). –DayakDaily.