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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Sim: Wan Fayhsal's U-turn on vernacular schools welcomed


DAP's Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim has welcomed Deputy National Unity Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal's U-turn on his stance related to the abolition of vernacular schools.

This came after Wan Fayhsal (above), who reportedly asked in August 2020 for  vernacular schools to be phased outclarified yesterday that he merely wanted the institution to strengthen the Malay language and not abolish them.

"In Dewan Rakyat yesterday, Wan Fayhsal has backed away from his own stance on abolishing the vernacular schools which he took last year. He explained that he did not mean to shut down but to strengthen the Malay language as the medium of instruction in the vernacular schools," Sim said.

"Among the many U-turns, this is a positive development. I welcome the change in his stance," he said, referring to the Bersatu Youth chief.

"In fact, vernacular schools should not be polemised for the sake of narrow political interests."

Vernacular schools are part of the national education system that uses the syllabus of the Education Ministry, he said.

Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim

"As such, the issue of vernacular schools not reflecting the national spirit does not arise," he said.

"Let us all agree on this issue, instead of polemising and politicising the issue of vernacular schools," he said.

"We should strive to improve the education system based on the development of science and technology today, improve Malay language proficiency, strengthen English proficiency as an international language of communication, and respect teaching and learning the mother tongue of each ethnic group as enshrined in the Federal Constitution," he said.

Yesterday, Sim had questioned Wan Fayhsal in the Dewan Rakyat if he still stood by his previous position to abolish vernacular schools.

This prompted Wan Fayhsal to stress that he had only sought for the Malay language to be strengthened in vernacular schools, maintaining that he was only speaking in his capacity as the Bersatu Youth chief.

Meanwhile, DAP Youth vice-chief Muhammad Shakir Ameer told Wan Fayhsal to state his final stance on vernacular schools.

"He should remember that he is the same person regardless of position. There should be no different stance, whether as a political party leader or deputy minister," said Shakir.

He said it was absurd for the deputy minister to twist his own remark, stating he made the call in August 2020 in his capacity as Bersatu Youth chief.

"Giving a negative image of the vernacular schools starting with a stand to shut down these schools, and later giving an impression that the vernacular schools failed to strengthen the Malay language is an irresponsible 'flip-flop'.

"He should apologise to the families, regardless of ethnicity who sent their children to vernacular schools," he said.

Shakir notes that Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said the percentage of Malay students in Chinese primary schools increased to 15.33 percent in 2020 as compared with 9.5 percent in 2010.

Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin

"This should be a lesson to those who disputed the existence of vernacular schools, alleging that they hinder the unity and integration in our country," Shakir said.

"These irresponsible parties may need to study the reason behind the increment of Malay students in Chinese primary schools," he added.

"They should be aware that vernacular schools implement the national education system. Maybe they can ask Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki the reason he sent his son to a Chinese school," Shakir said while reminding the critics that vernacular schools were part of the national education system.

"As such, Bersatu Youth and others should not use the existence of the vernacular schools as a mockery for political interests because such attitude will affect our unity," he said.  - Mkini

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