31 Oct 2019
Press Statement by MCA Secretary-General Datuk Chong Sin Woon
Vernacular schools in line with Federal Constitution
MCA takes notice of the recent application by Mr Mohd Khairul Azam Bin Abdul Aziz and his counsel Mr Shaharudin Ali to seek leave from the Federal Court to determine the constitutionality of Sections 17 and 28 of the Education Act 1996.
By way of background, the then BN Government had enacted the Education Act to, amongst others, make provisions for the establishment and maintenance of national and national type school (vernacular school), with the national language as a compulsory subject. Section 21(2) of the Education Act 1961(power of the Minister to convert national type school to national school) was also removed. For more than two decades, this system has worked well.
MCA takes the position that the continued existence of vernacular school in the country is indeed in line with the Federal Constitution, and the spirit of Muhibbah which is the hallmark of our plural society. This case should put an end to the endless debate on the legality of vernacular school in this country.
Should leave be granted on 4th November, MCA would seek to join the proceedings as a party, either via an intervener’s application to challenge this application, or as an 'amicus curae' to assist the Courts in this matter.
MCA has, in its long history, always been a defender of the vernacular school, as well as the sacred position of the National Language which is taught in all vernacular schools, and will continue to do so in the face of Pakatan Harapan’s inaction on this issue.
Datuk Chong Sin Woon