Well written letter in the Star by Dr. Goh Cheng Teik on the future of La Salle schools in Malaysia. I think his suggestion of handing back the administration of these schools to the 'brothers' is interesting but I'm not sure if there are enough 'brothers' around to administer these schools. I'll reproduce the letter in full below. (BTW, I was from La Salle PJ, primary and secondary, until Form 3)
Thursday June 18, 2009
Hand back ‘Saint’ schools to the La Salle Brothers
report “An end of an era for La Sallians” (The Star, May 1) stirred
deep emotions in the hearts of those who had studied at the 50 La Salle
schools in the country. The exit of Bro Paul Ho, the last Brother
Director from St Xavier’s Institution does look like the end of an era.
Old Xaverians and Old Lasallians do pray that Bro Paul’s retirement
would not be the end of the involvement of Christian Brothers in
Malaysian schools. At the recent Yayasan La Salle Board meeting on June
6, former UPM Vice Chancellor Tan Sri Syed Jalaluddin, an Old Xaverian,
made a passionate plea for the Christian Brothers to stay engaged in
Malaysia. The meeting was chaired by Tan Sri Kamarulzaman Shariff,
another Old Xaverian and a former Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, who mandated
Syed Jalaluddin to sketch out a road map for the coming years.
Lasallians like Syed Jalaluddin and Kamarulzaman value what the
Brothers have done and wish that they can do more. Unfortunately, the
congregation of La Salle Brothers worldwide has shrunk. F
and fewer youths in the modern world are prepared to embrace the vows of
poverty, chastity and obedience for the sake of educating children from
impoverished families. The Brothers have to conserve their manpower and
deploy their resources smartly.
The present thinking is that Old
La Sallians who have friends in high places should convince the
Government to hand back two schools, St John’s Institution and St.
Xavier’s Institution, to the La Salle Brothers to manage and administer.
At the same time, the Government should convert both schools from being
sekolah bantuan modal into sekolah-sekolah bantuan penoh.
like St John’s and St Xavier’s have shown that they have withstood the
test of time. After all, St John’s has produced Datuk Seri Najib Tun
Razak, the present Prime Minister; Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein,
Home Minister; Datuk Sri Nazir Tun Razak, the banker and younger brother
of Najib and Raja Nazrin Shah, the Raja Muda of Perak.
Xavier’s has produced Karpal Singh, the opposition leader; Tun Hamid
Omar, the former Lord President; Tan Sri Nor Nor Mohamed Yakcop, the
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
Both schools can be
depended upon to make proper use of the financial resources and enhanced
powers given to them. They should be challenged - at the right moment -
to bring back the academic and extra-curricular excellence that they
had enjoyed in the past. These include competency in the English
language, both written and spoken.
I believe making St John’s and
St Xavier’s fully-aided schools and mandating the La Salle Brothers and
the respective boards of governors to administer them is the answer.
Taking both schools private sounds great in theory but in practice,
funds would have to be raised all the time. Fees have to be charged and
revised upward regularly.
Those students who cannot pay would
have to be barred from attending classes. The La Salle Brothers would
not be comfortable with a fee-based regime. Their philosophy is to
provide education to those who need it, not only to those who can pay
Syed Jalaluddin’s mission is delicate and important. As
someone who had studied in a La Salle school and who had worked as a
Vice Chancellor of a public university, he can bridge the communication
gap between the La Salle Brothers and the politicians and civil
He can get a dialogue going. For all you know, he may find an ally in the person of the PM since Najib is an Old Lasallian.
Dr GOH CHENG TEIK,