'Helping Chinese top priority'

Personal concern: Liow talking to patients at the new Chinese Medical Aid Department of the Malaysian Chinese Medical Association (MCMA) in Kuala Lumpur. With him are Malaysian Buddhist Association vice-president Venerable Ming Ji (right) and MCMA president Dr Yong Wee Seong.

KUALA LUMPUR- MCA's priority is to resolve problems concerning the Chinese community, particularly in the field of education, its president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai says.

He said the party cared about the development of Chinese education and wanted to put an end to the shortage of Chinese teachers in the country.

"There is no other agenda behind this," said Liow, refuting claims by Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap that "a certain Barisan Nasional component party" was making use of the media to discredit her and take over her post.

The dispute started last week when MCA deputy president Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong brought up the case of 51 teachers from Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), who were trained to teach SPM-level Chinese but had been sent to teach basic Chinese language at boarding and vocational schools as well as vocational colleges.

A total of 85 others have yet to receive their posting notices.

Dr Wee, the new Minister in the Prime Minister's Department and Yap's predecessor in the Education Ministry, also noted that there was a shortage of Chinese language teachers in national-type secondary schools and national secondary schools.

When these were highlighted, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Education Minister, instructed the ministry's secretary-general and director-general to meet Dr Wee to resolve the issues, leading to Yap making the claim. Although she did not name the party, it is understood that she was referring to MCA.

Liow stressed that the party was merely playing its role of helping the people.

"(In this issue), MCA only has one objective - that is to improve and do what is best for Chinese education," he told reporters after opening the new Selangor and Federal Territory Chha Yong Fay Choon Kuan Asso­ciation building yesterday.

He said efforts and time spent to train these teachers would be wasted if they were not tasked according to their strength.

At an earlier event, Liow urged Chinese traditional medicine practitioners to advance with time and modern technology to ensure the continuous development of the industry.