July 2 hearing for lawyer’s bid to withdraw suit on vernacular schools

Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz initially sought a declaration that the law governing the use of Chinese and Tamil at vernacular schools is against the Federal Constitution.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has fixed July 2 to hear a lawyer’s application to withdraw his suit to declare vernacular schools unconstitutional.

Judge Nordin Hassan set the date after meeting the disputing parties during case management today.

He also directed lawyer Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, the Chinese Language Council, the Tamil Language Association and the Confederation of Former Tamil School Pupils to file their written submissions on June 25.

The three language-based interest groups are objecting to Khairul’s application to withdraw his action on grounds that he filed it as a publicity stunt.

The three, who were made interveners, also said Khairul should not be allowed to abandon his suit as the subject matter before the court is a constitutional issue.

R Permalu, the president of the Tamil Language Association, affirmed the affidavit and was given permission to represent the other two groups as well.

“The plaintiff’s (Khairul’s) action was done in bad faith as he on Jan 14 (2020), at 10.48pm, uploaded on his Facebook a video titled ‘Cina and India takde dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan’.

“After uttering those words, he spit at the camera. This shows that the plaintiff is racist,” Permalu said in the affidavit sighted by FMT.

He said having filed the case and secured “cheap publicity” through the media, Khairul was now seeking to withdraw the action.

He also said he had been advised by his counsel that the suit and action to withdraw it would not be a waste of the court’s time.

“We urge the court to dismiss the application to withdraw and also impose very high costs (against Khairul),” Permalu added.

Lawyer Abdul Rahim Sinwan, representing Khairul, told reporters that he would not be filing an affidavit in reply to Permalu.

In January, Khairul sought a declaration that Sections 28 and 17 of the Education Act 1996 which allow the use of Chinese and Tamil as the main medium in vernacular schools are against Article 152 of the constitution.

Article 152 states that Bahasa Melayu is the national language.

Khairul later said he was withdrawing his action as the Association of Peninsular Malaysia Students, Islamic Educational Development Council and Ikatan Guru Guru Muslim Malaysia had filed similar suits.

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