By Ling Hui
KUCHING, Aug 28: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Youth secretary-general Milton Foo slams Bersatu Youth chief Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal for suggesting a phased abolishment of vernacular schools in Malaysia.
Foo said this is none other than a political gimmick of Wan Ahmad Fayhsal by playing around and exploiting the vernacular school system in the country to the latter’s political agenda.
“Since the formation of Malaysia, the social structure of multiracialism has been unceasingly put into challenge by some quarters of extremists or politicians who tend to pick on issues about the vernacular education system in the country,” he asserted.
Wan Ahmad Fayhsal, who was recently appointed as the Armada wing chief, claimed in his Parliament statement on August 26 that the vernacular schools have failed to produce students who are nationalistic with strong identity as Malaysians.
Thus, he said there are many “negative perceptions” that the current education system is contrary to the Federal Constitution.
In response to the Deputy Youth and Sports Minister’s allegation, Foo pointed out the vernacular education system is enshrined in the Federal Constitution and duly protected under the Education Act 1966, where it succinctly states that the Minister of Education does not have the power to abolish the vernacular schools in the country.
That is why all ethnic groups in Malaysia are free to develop their own mother tongue languages, be it Tamil, Malay, English, Mandarin, Iban, Kadazan or others.
“According to Article 152(1) of the Federal Constitution, Bahasa Malaysia is the national language, but it is also stated in Article 152(1)(a) that no one shall be denied or deprived from using, learning or teaching other languages.
“Where is the so-called unconstitutionality as alleged?” Foo questioned Wan in a statement yesterday.
In stating this, he reiterated to remind Wan Ahmad Fayhsal to stop fiddling around with educational topics since the current established vernacular education system has been proven of its effectiveness in uniting the Malaysian community with multiple races, cultures and languages.
“What’s more, in Sarawak, many parents from the bumiputera families send their children to Chinese primary schools (SJK) for education, especially in suburban and rural areas.
“Academics and schooling should not become the political tools for those politicians to achieve personal political goals and agendas,” said Foo.
Nevertheless, he expressed his relief for when National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique assured the people in Parliament that the government would not change or abolish the existing education system which promotes national unity. —DayakDaily