Vernacular Schools Must Close As They Are Detrimental To Non-Malays, Says Lawyer

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A Chinese vernacular school in Malaysia. (source: CiliSos)

The Kuala Lumpur High Court recently heard arguments regarding a lawsuit which will have massive implications for the future of race relations in the country.

The lawsuit, initiated in December 2019 by the Federation of Peninsular Malay Students (GPMS) and the Islamic Education Development Council (Mappim), is seeking to challenge the legality of vernacular schools, as well as asking for their immediate closure.

The Kuala Lumpur Court Complex, which houses the High Court. (source: theSundaily)

In a submission to the court by lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdullah, he argues that Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools are actually detrimental to non-bumiputeras.

He reasons that with Bahasa Malaysia not being the main language of instruction in these schools, students will have trouble finding work in Malaysia later in life, as many employers allegedly prefer candidates who are fluent in the language.

“It will also cause them to be left behind due to difficulties in communicating with each other… How can they survive in other countries if they cannot survive in their own country?” he was quoted as saying by NST.

Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdullah. (source: The Vibes)

Moreover, Haniff claims that the establishment of such schools are in contravention with the Federal Constitution.

He cites specifically Article 5(1) and Article 152(1), which deals with the right to life and personal liberty, and Malay’s designation as the national language respectively.

The lawyer elaborates that vernacular schools ought to be shut down as they practice “racial segregation” and perpetuate incidences of “human rights violations” such as the removal of the headscarf.

The notion that vernacular schools only enrol students of a specific ethnicity is outdated thinking, as this Chinese vernacular school in Taiping once had an all-Malay cohort. (source: World Of Buzz)

For the record, a rising number of Malays are enrolling into Chinese vernacular schools by choice, and entry into such schools are not formally prejudiced by race.

Vernacular schools also require Bahasa Malaysia and English to be taken as compulsory subjects for all students, and offer alternative education pathways for bumiputeras, especially in rural communities.