Penang Deputy Chief Minister 2 P Ramasamy said by limiting SPM students to only 10 subjects, the Education Ministry had effectively unveiled a grand plan to purge Tamil and Mandarin as vernacular languages not only in the education system, but also in the country.
He said the students should be allowed to take up at least 12 subjects to enable them to sit for their respective vernacular language and literature subjects.
He pointed out that the 10-subject grand plan would first discourage students from taking up their mother tongue subjects at secondary and tertiary levels, which ultimately would create a severe shortage of teachers in vernacular schools.
He said if this was allowed, all 534 existing Tamil schools would eventually close down.
"Without Tamil schools and teachers, one can imagine what will happen to the language.
"This is a deliberate attempt by the 1Malaysia federal government to destroy the usage and growth of vernacular languages in the country," he told a press conference in George Town today.
NGOs to stage protest
More than 20 national Indian non-government organisations (NGOs) have already planned to stage a protest on Dec 12 at the Wisma Peladang in Petaling Jaya against the ministry's attempt to introduce the 10-subject SPM formula.
The joint NGO group organising chairperson A Thiruvenggadam said because of the restrictive ruling, Indian students whose mother tongue is Tamil would not be able to sit for subjects in their language.
The NGOs to take part in the protest include the Malaysia Hindu Sangam, Malaysia Tamil Literature Association, Malaysian Dravidian Association and Hindu Dharma Maha Madhuram.
In mid-June this year, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said all students would be able to take a maximum of only 10 subjects in the examination.
Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, said the six core subjects in the SPM - Bahasa Melayu, English, Islamic Education or Moral Studies, History, Mathematics and Science - would remain the same.
The only exception would be students in the joint science and religious stream who will be allowed to take 11 subjects next year until the curriculum is streamlined by 2011, after which they too would take a maximum of 10 subjects.
"The Indian community is up-in-arms against the controversial plan because it poses a major threat to the very existence of Tamil language in the country," said Ramasamy.
He also dismissed suggestions that the 10-subject formula was mooted to reduce students' burden, pointing out that many students were already taking up 13 subjects now.
He said he would table an emergency motion at the current parliamentary session to pass a resolution against the introduction of the 10-subject formula.
The deputy chief minister said he might also do the same at this week's Penang assembly sitting, which starts tomorrow.
"The state Pakatan Rakyat government is against the 10-subject magic formula. I don't know who came up with such an uncanny idea but surely it's malicious.
"Even an 11-subject formula would be suicidal for the growth of Tamil language in the country," he said.
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seals: Again thanks to PR, if not for them we will not know all these acts....