Vernacular schools: “Provoking further debates tantamount to challenging Federal Constitution”

AS the Malaysian courts at every level have already ruled that vernacular schools are constitutional, the issue should be laid to rest, said MCA Youth.

As such, its secretary-general Saw Yee Fung said that any individuals seeking to provoke a debate on the matter can be deemed as mounting a challenge against the Federal Constitution and the Federal Court’s judgement.

Citing the recent heated exchange between UMNO Youth chief Dr Akmal Saleh and former Penang deputy chief minister Dr P. Ramasamy over the issue, Saw said Akmal’s remarks calling for the abolition of multi-stream education and demanding the implementation of single-stream education highlights his “narrow-mindedness and ignorance”.

“If Rajiv debates with him, the former can be construed as acknowledging that the subject of vernacular schools is debatable,” she said.

“All these actions would only enable more opportunities for those with slanted and extremist intentions to further sensationalise the issue.”

Saw was referring to Bukit Gasing assemblyperson Rajiv Rishyakaran’s offer on Monday (March 11) for him and Akmal to have a chat about the topic.

“This matter has been on-going for some time now, and so far, the main leaders from DAP have yet to express their stance on Akmal’s call that vernacular schools be abolished,” Saw remarked.

“With Rajiv leaping at the opportunity for an open discussion with Akmal irrespective of the court’s decision, does DAP agree with Rajiv’s moves? The Rocket needs to declare their position as to whether it supports multi-stream or single-stream education.”

Saw said as the courts have ruled that the existence of vernacular schools conforms with the Federal Constitution, as young adult political leaders Akmal and Rajiv should be “imbued with the maturity” to clearly be aware that education is not a topic that can be toyed with or warped into a political drama.

“Instead of spending time creating issues that would affect national unity, with their party positions in their respective State Legislative Assemblies, Akmal and Rajiv ought to pay more attention to the issue of youth unemployment / underemployment,” she opined.

“They could also monitor the government to uncover solutions to problems such as the inability of young adults to sustain their income, the incremental cost of living rather than wasting time debating facts.”

The current hot debate began on March 6 when Akmal suggested that Putrajaya refine the schooling system, saying that perhaps the time has come for a single-stream education system to be implemented.

He later called on the government to conduct a detailed evaluation of the vernacular education system, by inculcating nationalistic aspects while strengthening its students’ command of the Malay language.

Ramasamy had responded by saying that Akmal was wrong to blame vernacular schools for racial divisions and blamed politics instead.

Last month, the Federal Court rejected an appeal by two NGOs seeking to declare vernacular schools unconstitutional, thereby protecting their constitutionality. – March 14, 2024

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