KUALA LUMPUR, 2 Dec 2008: MIC president Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu said member of parliament for Jerlun Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir had uttered seditious words by suggesting that vernacular schools be closed down.
In a statement, he said Mukhriz had violated the provisions in the Federal Constitution which protected the position and rights of vernacular schools.
“I could not understand the sudden change in Mukhriz’s stand on Chinese and Tamil schools,” he added.
Samy Vellu said unity “comes from the heart and mind of each Malaysian” and by closing down vernacular schools, it did not mean that unity would prevail.
Yesterday, Mukhriz had suggested that the vernacular schools in its current format be closed and integrated into a single national school system so that pupils would be able to integrate and interact better.
MIC secretary-general Datuk Dr S Subramaniam said polarisation started at the secondary school level and therefore the government should review the system.
“I wish to assure the Indian community that the MIC will continue to safeguard and fight for the Tamil schools,” said Subramaniam, who is also Human Resource Minister.
Meanwhile, Gerakan Youth chief Lim Si Pin urged Mukhriz to retract his statement.
“The vernacular school system as practised in Malaysia has been in existence since our independence from the British and is also guaranteed in both the Federal Constitution and the Education Act,” he said.
PAS deputy president Nasaruddin Mat Isa who shared the views of Pakatan Rakyat on the issue, said he rejected Mukhriz’s suggestion because the country’s citizens had the right to practise their own mother tongue and culture as provided in the Federal Constitution. — Bernama