By PHOONG JIN ZHE
COMMENT: I’m extremely amazed and excited to hear the announcement by YAB Chief Minister of Sabah Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd Shafie bin Haji Apdal who officially announced that the state government of Sabah to recognize the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC). It will allow the Chinese independent school students with the qualification to enter Sabah public service subjected to certain terms and conditions. This is surely a huge relief and indeed an exciting news for the Chinese community as well as all Chinese independent students in Sabah.
2. As a Chinese independent school graduate myself in the State cabinet, I sincerely thank the Chief Minister for heeding the voices of the Chinese community as well as the Chinese youths. At the same time, DAP Sabah would also like to congratulate YAB CM for taking a bold step of moderation on this matter, and for leading the way of unfolding a new chapter of new politics in this new Malaysia.
3. On the discussion of the recognition of UEC, this topic has always garnered much controversies and debates, even during my time as a student at Tsung Tsin Secondary School more than ten years ago. Alas, despite waiting for more than half a century, there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel for the Chinese community on this issue.
4. Until last historical and remarkable election, the new PH federal and state Warisan-led government both systematically allocated funds to the Chinese independent schools. Moreover, the Warisan-led Sabah State government also increased the funding for the Chinese independent schools. And now, with the state government officially recognizing UEC, Chinese independent school graduates can now enter the public service and serve as government officials, and as mentioned by YAB CM, it is our hope that this will bring some hopes and opportunities for our young people. And I’m sure that this will give a boost of confidence to all outstanding and incredible Chinese independent school graduates all over the world to come back and serve this wonderful state!
5. As student of the Chinese independent school turned politician, never have I ever hesitated in my struggle for a fair and equal rights to education and uphold multi-stream education. I recalled that during the first Sabah State Assembly sitting, as a backbencher assemblyman then, I had in my first maiden speech reiterated and stated my position in urging the state government to recognize UEC, and calls on the federal government to expedite it at their level.
6. Today, I am proud and honored to be able to sit in the cabinet and participate in this historic decision, a decision which saw the unanimity and solidarity of all its members on this matter. It shows Sabah is leading the way to a moderate Malaysia. It also shows that our CM has his vision fixed on national unity and understanding on the meaning of New Malaysia.
7. As more states make clear their position on the recognition of UEC, I am confident that the federal government too will in due time, join in sharing the good news for all and fulfill the promises made during the 14th General Election.
*Phoong Jin Zhe is the Minister of Youth and Sports Sabah and
DAP Sabah Publicity Secretary