PETALING JAYA: DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has called on the Cabinet to ask Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal to apologise and retract his call for vernacular schools to be abolished.
In a statement, Lim said it was “disturbing” that no one from the Cabinet had taken a firm stand in rejecting what he called “racist rhetoric”.
He said even the Malaysian Academic Movement had criticised the call to abolish vernacular schools, arguing that such schools have not eroded the national identity.
Last week, Gerak secretary-general Rosli Mahat had stated that the medium of instruction of vernacular schools did not affect the spirit of patriotism.
This came after Wan Fayshal, who is also the PPBM Youth chief, claimed that vernacular schools had not produced students who possess a “strong national identity”.
Lim today said vernacular schools had been operating well before independence and their existence had never been questioned as unconstitutional.
“In fact, an MP who called for the abolition of vernacular schools during a speech in Parliament, was charged and convicted for sedition in the 1980s,” he said, in reference to former Kinabalu MP Mark Koding.
“Such racist rhetoric and religious extremism only divide the people and sets the country further apart, even after 63 years of independence.”
He said Article 152(1) of the Federal Constitution was clear that while the national language is Bahasa Malaysia, Malaysians can use, learn or teach other languages.
“Perikatan Nasional should put the national agenda of unity back on track by respecting the constitutional practice in place since 1957 and the Cabinet should lead the path of national unity forward by asking that the deputy minister apologise and withdraw his offensive call to abolish vernacular schools.”
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