PETALING JAYA: Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) has expressed his support for the proposal put forth by the Tunku Mahkota of Johor (TMJ), Tengku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim to scrap vernacular schools in the state.
In a statement, the activist said that if Putrajaya was not willing to lead the way, Johor should not have to wait but act first.
He said if children were separated during their school days, total national unity would remain just a dream, as the concept of unity was forged from a young age.
He acknowledged that there were irresponsible politicians who were always seeking to divide the people, and that it was also true that vernacular schools were not the only reason for division in the country.
“However, the divide and conquer rhetoric will continue to be relevant so long as students are divided according to race from the school level.
“If we are taught from a young age to accept the concept of one race, divisive politics will be rejected by the next generation.”
Syed Saddiq said the Johor royal family had proven on numerous occasions, that they were strong supporters of national unity.
He cited the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar’s participation in Chingay celebrations, the family’s constant call for unity among Johoreans and the family’s strong stance against racism in the state as examples.
Syed Saddiq said that Bangsa Johor schools would need to focus on English and Bahasa Malaysia while offering vernacular language subjects to those interested in learning these, as it would be best if students spoke three languages.
“The good characteristics of vernacular schools should be applied in Bangsa Johor schools. Quality education must be prioritised, ahead of race and religion.”
Yesterday, TMJ, uploaded a video to the Johor Southern Tiger’s Facebook page, calling for vernacular schools to be replaced by single-stream “Bangsa Johor” schools.
“You have Indian schools, you have Chinese schools, you have Malay schools. From small, you have taught them against uniting. Do you expect them to unite when they grow older?
“In the future, there will be no more Indian, Chinese, Malay schools in Johor,” he added. However, he said Islamic religious schools would remain.