Mumsgather asked me for my input on this issue. Even though I have this as a comment on her site, thought I'd post my reply here too (since I already burned plenty of grey cells to compose it).
I chose the Kebangsaan school nearby because of convenience. But mind you, when I was still living in PJ, I did enrol my daughter at a chinese school. So, like many parents, I was two minds about it. Eventually it came down to these few things:
1. Is it really that important to me that she learn chinese? This question will be unique to each parent. As for me, it's not really high on my priority list. Her life is not going to be dependent on it. I know some people think it's a shame when you're chinese and can't speak chinese. Well, shame on me then. I do speak some hokkien though. Anyway, I look at it as just another skill. There are so many skills out there to learn. Why give soooo much emphasis on just one?
2. Is chinese school the only answer to learning chinese? Some people say yes, some people say no. I figure it depends on the child. If the child really is interested in the language, they'll pick it up whatever the method, be it through school or tuition. But if they don't care for it, it would be like "dragging a horse to water but not making it drink" sort of thing. They'll probably learn the language but hate it at the same time. Also have to remember that there is no time limit or age barrier to learning chinese. My mother is a good example. Because she had the DESIRE to learn, even though already in her 60s, she joined a class and enjoyed herself thoroughly learning the language with good friends.
3. Love of learning is more important. I didn't want my daughter to "suffer" or struggle and lose sight of why she is learning. Yes, in the kebangsaan school now she has a lot of 'free' time. She finishes her work at school and come home with no work. I don't have to "suffer" getting her to finish her work. She gets to go to bed by 9pm. I am still in charge of her education. We still have time to learn whatever we want to learn. It's like part time homeschooling. But then, I know this option is not for everybody. It depends on your situation and your outlook of what "real" education is.
It's a shame that we have to choose between two evils. But instead of looking at "chinese school" vs. "kebangsaan school", we would do better at looking at the schools individually. Even among chinese school and kebangsaan school, there are good and bad variations. Maybe it's not good to lump them all into one generic category.
Personally, if I had a choice, I would send my kids to a mission school or a school with strong traditions like Convent. Even though not as good as before, but standards still okay right?