2 organisations file suit over existence of vernacular schools

Lawyer Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz speaking to reporters after filing his suit at the Federal Court early last month.

PETALING JAYA: Two organisations have filed a suit against the education ministry and the government over the existence of Chinese and Tamil national schools, claiming they may be in conflict with the national language under Clause 152(1) of the Federal Constitution.

The Association of Peninsular Malaysia Students (GPMS) and the Islamic Educational Development Council (MAPPIM) filed their writ of summons and statement of claim at the Kuala Lumpur High Court today.

A statement by their lawyers, Messrs Amelda Fuad Abi & Aidil, said Haniff Khatri Abdulla would be their lead counsel.

It said the suit follows the decision of the Federal Court on Nov 11 rejecting an application by lawyer Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz for leave to challenge the validity of vernacular schools in Malaysia.

The statement said the Federal Court had ruled that the application should have been filed in the High Court and not in the Federal Court.

The statement said GPMS and MAPPIM were seeking a declaration that Sections 2, 17 and 28 of the Education Act 1996, and the extent to which they provide for the establishment of vernacular schools using Chinese and Tamil as main languages, were inconsistent with Article 152(1) of the Federal Constitution and null and void.

It said GPMS and MAPPIM supported third languages such as Mandarin, Tamil, Arabic and Kadazan, and others including Japanese and Korean, to be taught as language subjects.

“But they are against the use of these languages as the main medium of instruction in schools that receive public funds because that would be in conflict with the position of the Malay language as the national language, which must be used for all official purposes,” it said.