Expect more legal challenges over vernacular schools

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YOURSAY | ‘This matter is far from being settled.’

After KL, High Court in K’tan rules vernacular schools are constitutional

YellowGecko9040: This second ruling by the courts that vernacular schools are constitutional does give Malaysia a glimmer of hope. A hope that our diversity will be maintained, nurtured and strengthened as part of being Malaysians.

What did these two cases, related at the core yet filed in different states, highlight?

Though the crux of the issue has been clarified, pending an appeal at the Court of Appeal as expected, many a question remains unanswered:

1. How is it that these people, NGOs, or societies that are bringing these lawsuits to court get away with the attempt to undermine our Constitution and, more importantly, try to cause racial disunity blatantly?

2. As some of the plaintiffs are from the teaching profession, it makes me wonder and pains me to ask: Do teachers in schools all over Malaysia have this same mindset – that vernacular schools are unconstitutional – while teaching future generations?

If so, how can a personal decision or belief be allowed to interfere with their teaching profession? Strong enough that they have the courage to bring this case to court and openly declare their support for this?

3. What has the teaching profession descended to? Hopefully, there are many other teachers who are above all this. Unfortunately, because of these teachers, the rest get their names marred too.

This is similar to a very good Malay peribahasa: ‘Kerana lembu seekor membawa lumpur, semuanya terpalit’. (Because one cow gets muddy, the whole herd ends up muddy)

4. Where is the voice of the teachers in all of this? Where is the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP)? Silence implies agreement from NUTP?

Or are they waiting for the other shoe to drop – that is, the court decision – before coming out and thumping their chests (whichever way the verdict goes), so that they can smell like roses when they actually dropped the ball (and lost it) very early on by allowing the mushrooming of these religious-based and language-based teaching associations?

One may blame the politicians and the Education Ministry, but the public has also allowed these shenanigans to go on.

Yes, the blame does lie on our shoulders. Associations meant to safeguard teachers (and students) are nowhere to be seen (or heard from) on matters that count.

Mazilamani: It appears that constitutional justice is very much alive and awake. This decision by the Kota Bharu High Court offers much consolation to many.

It is great to know we have judges who respect the essence of the Constitution. Let our justice system remain independent and noble forever.

Anything forcefully taken away, which has already been entrenched in the Constitution, is a definite sign of the erosion of our justice system. That would be the beginning of a bleak future for the country.

It is also time for those with voting rights and all peace-loving Malaysians to reject any political party which promotes racial and religious agendas.

Fair Play: @Mazilamani, while I totally agree with your observation, this matter is far from being settled.

Those disgruntled with the recent judiciary’s decision will continue to take this matter up to higher courts. They will never stop until this matter is finally decided in the Federal Court.

We have to remember this is the second time the High Court ruled on this matter – with the same decision. The rakyat can expect more challenges in the future.

Spinnot: Ikatan Guru-Guru Muslimin Malaysia, being a teachers’ association, should have directed their time, money and energy to improve the standard of Bahasa Malaysia among students instead of denying the constitutional rights of others to use their mother tongue.

YellowCat1156: All that matters to me is that every Malaysian can communicate with each other in BM. It doesn’t matter how broken one speaks the national language, just as long as we understand each other.

I know I will draw criticism for what I’m about to say, but it’s the total lack of not being able to speak the national language that can be extremely frustrating. Much like someone unable to speak the English language when in an English-speaking country.

Is the presence of vernacular schools the cause of this? I don’t think so, and only those in and who have graduated from vernacular schools can answer that.

Cat In The Bag: @YellowCat1156, in principle I may agree, but in reality, the national language will never ever become a unifier for our country. Enforcing it only sows divisions. Natural communication processes occur over time.

Our rakyat already knows how to talk to each other in a unique combination of all languages – that is how the formation of natural linguistics and interaction between people works. Not due to our education system ensuring everyone learns BM.

This obsession with creating a national identity never works when it is artificially put upon people. Case in point, do you realise the national language of Singapore is BM, but how many actually speak it?

IndigoKite6964: “It is constitutional because, looking at the history behind Article 152, it guarantees the use of the mother tongue,” said lawyer T Gunaseelan.

It also means that Malaysia is a multiracial country even though the official language is Malay.

This attack is not just on vernacular schools. This attack is on the very fabric of the Constitution and to try and erase the fact that Malaysia is the product of the blood, sweat, and tears of many races, not just one.

Being Malaysian is not about being Malay. It is about being diverse and yet being one. This is something these people do not understand or do not want to understand.

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