Racial politics, not vernacular schools breeds racism

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PETALING JAYA: M Kula Segaran of DAP has taken an academician to task by saying that his suggestion that a single stream education system was needed to combat racism was “wrong and unacceptable.”

Responding to a proposal by Professor Teo Kok Seong, Principal Fellow at UKM’s Institute of Ethnic Studies, the Opposition lawmaker said racism in Malaysia was not due to the existence of a multi stream education system and as such, a single stream education system as he suggested was not the solution.

Kula advised Teo “not to think from his ivory tower” but to study the actual cause of racism in Malaysia and added, “Can’t he see that the major causes of racism in this nation are due to racial politics, racial policies and racial speeches?

“Why is he targeting vernacular and religious schools?

Teo, had two days ago claimed that vernacular schools focused largely on ethnicity and culture, with some critics saying he gave the impression that these were the only topics being taught in such schools.

The professor also proposed the country adopt a single stream system, which he called Sekolah Kebangsaan 1 Malaysia, that incorporated academics, spiritual studies and ethnic studies in its curriculum.

In arguing that many of the nation’s past and present government and Opposition leaders were products of vernacular schools, Kula challenged Teo to finger who among them were racist as a result of their educational background.

Language, Kula said, did not make one a racist nor did it divide the people. Proponents of single stream schools like Teo, he added, should stop blaming vernacular schools as the cause of disunity and racism.

“Teo should realise that the right to learn and study in one’s mother tongue is protected by the Malaysian constitution and he should respect the people’s rights,” he said, adding that the abolition of vernacular schools would only lead to greater disunity in the nation.