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Mukhriz’s proposal is unconstitutional

KUALA LUMPUR, 2 Dec 2008: Kedah Gerakan Youth says the proposal to abolish vernacular schools is against the Federal Constitution which allows the teaching and learning of other languages besides Bahasa Malaysia.

The state youth chief Tan Keng Liang was responding to a suggestion by Umno Youth exco member Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir.

Mukhriz said yesterday that the only way to end racial polarisation was to end the vernacular school system and subject all children to a single school system.

The Jerlun Member of Parliament, who is also running for the Umno Youth chief post in the party elections in March, said pupils should instead be allowed to study their mother tongue under the single national school system.

Tan, while objecting to Mukhriz’s call to stop vernacular schools, said the Education Ministry should let pupils in government-funded national schools (sekolah kebangsaan) be given the chance to study other languages.

“We are strongly against the proposal to abolish vernacular schools in Malaysia as this is one of the rights of Malaysians under Article 152 of the Federal Constitution, where ‘no person shall be prohibited or prevented from using or from teaching or learning any other language’,” Tan said in a statement.

The teaching of mother tongue languages and foreign languages would equip youths for the future but the “preservation of Bahasa Malaysia as our national language should be the priority of national schools,” Tan added.

Mukhriz has been criticised by MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat in his blog for using racial polemics because the Umno elections were coming.

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22 Responses to “Mukhriz’s proposal is unconstitutional”

  1. Eric Lee says:

    I agree that vernacular schools should not be abolished and the current education system in national schools should give opportunity to young Malaysians to learn their mother tongue.

    This issue is observed spot on by Mr Tan of Kedah.

    It is wrong for politicians to simply criticisse Mukhriz completely as what he said about allowing national schools to teach other language is right (though he is wrong in proposing to abolish vernacular schools).

  2. balan says:

    Mukhriz did also say that other languages should be taught.

    If Singapore can do it, why can’t we? Singaporeans are far more united, and each race did not lose their culture or identity.

    Do read my take on this issue.


  3. Jeremy says:

    I agree with Mr Tan Keng Liang that languages other than Bahasa Malaysia should be taught in sekolah kebangsaan (national schools). And there is no necessity to abolish vernacular schools.

  4. Chandran says:

    It is time that other languages be taught in national schools. And I agree with Tan.

  5. fade says:

    Ketuanan Melayu is inevitable.

    Melayu will always be the “tuans” in their own lands.

    Just like the Chinese in China and the Indians in India.

    This is something that the Chinese and Indian minorities need to understand and accept. By 2020 the Malay population will be almost 70%, so like it or not Melayu will always be “tuans” (masters).

    It surprises me that the minority groups choose to separate themselves by going to different schools, rather than integrating and getting to know their “tuans”.

    Vernacular schools were never printed in the constitution. The constitution only said that other races were free to practise their own religions, cultures and beliefs. Obviously someone twisted the facts.

  6. HL Goh says:

    I agree with Tan Keng Liang that our current national system must teach mother tongue languages and foreign languages.

  7. sino says:

    Mukhriz has shamed his father by stooping so low to propose the abolition of vernacular schools just because he wants to be a hero in his fight to be Umno youth chief.

  8. Jessy Yeoh says:

    Quote: “…the Education Ministry should let pupils in government-funded national schools (sekolah kebangsaan) be given the chance to study other languages.”

    A very good idea from Mr Tan Keng Liang – this may be the reason why people still need vernacular schools.

  9. Patrick says:

    Yes, we need to let people have the option to study other languages in national schools, at the same time respecting Bahasa Malaysia.

  10. Sino says:

    Before, I viewed Mukhriz in high regard, now my respect for him is all gone, down the drain one way. No return because to me, he is history in politics.

  11. Simon Khoo says:

    I agree with Tan’s suggestion that “…the Education Ministry should let pupils in government-funded national schools (sekolah kebangsaan) be given the chance to study other languages.”

  12. Jerry Khor says:

    We should not abolish vernacular schools. There will not be other places for people to study their mother tongue.

  13. Sion says:

    Most Malaysians agree with Mukhriz’s proposal. After 50 years of Merdeka, it’s time for us to act as Malaysians and realise the vision of a Malaysian Malaysia. Abolishing vernacular schools will let minority groups mingle with and get to know people of other races, and letting other languages be taught in national schools will help the students in these schools widen their options in the future with the knowledge of an additional language.

    It is never unconstitutional to abolish vernacular schools because the constitution gives people the right to use other languages only, and does not specifically mention the existence of vernacular schools. It should be reminded again that the Razak report also proposed the abolishment of vernacular schools although without giving any deadline.

    Its time for those who are talking about unity to rexamine them self, are they really sincere of wanting unity or just wanting everything for themself in the name of unity.

  14. jason says:

    I don’t agree with Sion as there is nothing wrong in having vernacular schools. Only when there are other options for people to learn their mother tongue or other languages, people will abandon vernacular schools. I agree with Kedah Gerakan Youth Chief, Tan’s suggestion to allow people to study their mother tongue in national schools. If you don’t allow that, where else do you think people can study their mother tongue? The tuition center? Not all people are rich!

  15. A concerned Malaysian says:

    I don’t think people in Malaysia agree with Mukhriz…..he is just a selfish person who is trying to be a hero without using his brains.

  16. Theva says:

    Abolishing vernacular schools alone is not enough because that only solves the problem of the Chinese and Indians segregating themselves from everyone else. The government also needs to do away with schools that are exclusively for Malays such as the Sekolah Berasrama Penuh (SBP).

    Revamp the education system, improve teacher training and have one standard national system to unite us all where everyone can learn their own mother tongue (think Singapore), which is good value for tax-payers money. Those who are unhappy can go away and set up private schools to cater for their demands.

  17. Balan says:

    Yes, vernacular schools include sekolah berasrama penuh!

  18. Jason says:

    I agree with Balan. Let it be fair to all schools.

  19. It is constitutional, if the national schools teach and allow students to learn their mother tongue.

  20. faith04 says:

    The government must prove sincerity in providing effective mother tongue education in national schools, make passing with credit compulsory, and focus on providing quality education. Then, ensure fair education, culture, employment, promotion opportunities in all government institutions to all citizens, irrespective of race. With this, we will see more Malaysians turning to national schools.

  21. Kamal says:

    If Datuk Mukhriz believes that abolishing vernacular schools will solve the problems of polarization, he obviously doesn’t understand the political changes that have taken place especially over the last 20 years which he must have at least had a front row seat being both a party member as well as a leading business figure.

    However, in the argument over the vernacular, I feel we are missing the point; education is for the future of Malaysia and it should not be a political rallying point for anyone. If vernacular education is guaranteed under the constitution, this shouldn’t be an issue. Rather, the issue at hand is how do we make vernacular schools on par with national schools in terms of standardised service and funding.

    There are excellent vernacular schools but there are also some in need of help. The challenge should be to improve the facilities and human resources for these schools. Finally, on polarisation, if we push segregationist ideas and values, we are bound to encourage polarisation. The answer to that is to create anti-discrimination laws (not a “Multicultural Act” or to teach about ethnicity as a way to encourage tolerance). We need to ensure that race and racism are not given space in public institutions both as policy and practise.

  22. Jason R says:

    “Tan, while objecting to Mukhriz’s call to stop vernacular schools, said the Education Ministry should let pupils in government-funded national schools (sekolah kebangsaan) be given the chance to study other languages.”

    I think everyone has missed the point which I found interesting in the call by Kedah Gerakan Youth’s suggestion that national schools should allow people to learn their mother tongue. If so allowed, I think there is no need to abolish vernacular schools as they will disappear naturally when there is no further need for them anymore, i.e. people can learn mother tongue from vernacular schools!

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