MALACCA - Chinese primary schools are not meant for the Chinese community alone. In fact, they are learning institutions that nurture human capital with the mastery of at least three languages.
MCA deputy president Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said that Chinese education has been the catalyst for nation-building and the importance of learning the language itself was apparent with the increasing non-Chinese students at such schools.
"At present, 15 per cent or more than 80,000 of the total 600,000 enrollments at Chinese primary schools are non-Chinese.
"Chinese primary school is not just for the Chinese community.
"It is more than just a school system that teaches Chinese characters, but also a place that nurtures talent," he said at the opening of the SJK(C) Chung Hwa primary school hall at Sungai Rambai, Jasin on Sunday night.
Dr Wee said people who see Chinese education as a hindrance to national unity simply did not comprehend that the school system has been the very means that promotes unity within differences and cultivates excellence among students.
"Chinese primary schools are part of our nation's formal education system. It is a fact that no one can deny, as well as its contribution towards nation building and churning out national talents."
The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department also noted that Mandarin was an economically valuable language worldwide.
"The value of Chinese education and Mandarin being one of the most important languages at the international arena is undeniable.
"Therefore Chinese education will continue to remain relevant in Malaysia for a long time to come," he said.
Earlier, Dr Wee opened the Malacca Stories Hall at the second floor of Malacca Hakka Community Association at Jalan Kubu here.
He said the place- set up as a living museum -tells stories of life in Malacca in the past, would be ideal for outdoor teaching and learning.
"The stories hall is a really good effort in passing on the knowledge, experience and wisdom of our forefathers,'' added Dr Wee who is himself a Hakka.