PETALING JAYA: MCA cannot claim to showcase genuine Malaysian Chinese’s patriotism by forcing students to attend its Malaysia Day event, says PKR’s Selayang MP William Leong Jee Keen.
He said it was a good practice to make students politically aware but MCA would not get genuine support by making attendance at the event compulsory.
Leong was commenting on a letter issued by MCA-owned Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) which purportedly required its students to attend the Malaysian Chinese Patriotic Rally organised by the party tomorrow.
The letter, issued on Sept 6 by the TAR UC Centre for Pre-University Studies, stated: “Students of TAR UC are invited to attend the event. As such, it is compulsory for all the Chinese class reps, assistant class reps, scholars and representatives of SRC (students representative council) to attend the event as it is going to be conducted mainly in the Chinese language.”
MCA is the organiser of the rally to be held at Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
According to an announcement posted on MCA’s official website, the rally is to commemorate Malaysia Day tomorrow and to showcase the Chinese community’s patriotism.
The organisers expects 10,000 people to attend the rally.
“By making attendance at the event compulsory, it makes you question how many of those present will be there because of patriotism,” Leong said at a news conference at his Selayang office.
Meanwhile, MCA religious harmony bureau chairman Ti Lian Ker said the event was apolitical and Leong should not have sensationalised a non-issue.
Speaking to FMT, Ti said the event was organised in conjunction with Malaysia Day to inculcate a sense of patriotism.
Ti said the event was open to all Malaysian Chinese to attend regardless of their political views.
“Even NGOs and opposition parties are welcome to join. The member of parliament should not make a nationalistic event like this as an issue.
“Tunku Abdul Rahman University College only made it compulsory for elected students representatives to attend. Not all the students need to go,” he said.
TAR UC, when contacted by FMT, said it had already clarified to the students that their attendance was strongly encouraged but not compulsory.
The head of the Centre for Pre-University Studies (CPUS), Yeoh Hock Seng, said it was only compulsory for students on scholarship.
“It is in the scholarship’s terms and conditions for these students to attend events supportive of TAR UC.
“It is not compulsory for other students but they are strongly encouraged to attend. If they are unable to attend, they can come to CPUS and inform us, including scholarship students,” Yeoh told FMT.