3 groups apply to be party in suit over vernacular schools

Ikatan Guru-Guru Muslim Malaysia filed the suit challenging the existence of vernacular schools in Malaysia in February. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Three language-based interest groups have filed an application to intervene in a suit filed by Ikatan Guru-Guru Muslim Malaysia in Kota Bharu on the existence of vernacular schools in Malaysia.

Lawyer T Gunaseelan, who is representing the Chinese Language Council, the Tamil Language Association and Confederation of Former Tamil School Pupils, said the application was filed early this week.

The three said in their application that they had a direct interest in the case and would be aggrieved parties should the plaintiff succeed in their action.

“The plaintiff will not suffer any prejudice should our application to intervene be allowed by the court,” they said in court documents sighted by FMT.

Chinese Language Council chairman Heng Hong Chai, Tamil Language Association chairman R Permalu and Confederation of Former Tamil School Pupils chairman M Kumaran have also affirmed the affidavit in support of their application.

Gunaseelan said he would also apply for the case in Kota Bharu to be transferred to Kuala Lumpur to be heard together with other similar actions filed here should the intervener application by his clients succeed.

The plaintiff, Mohd Azizee Hasan, who is Ikatan Guru-Guru Muslim Malaysia president, filed the suit on behalf of his organisation in February. He is challenging the constitutionality of Sections 17 and 28 of the Education Act.

The education minister and the government have been named as defendants.

Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semenanjung and Majlis Pembangunan Pendidikan Islam Malaysia filed similar suits here in February.

Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) had filed a similar cause of action here in March.

Isma president Aminuddin Yahaya is seeking an order that the two provisions in the Education Act, which allow the use of Chinese and Tamil languages as the medium of instruction in vernacular schools, are against Article 152 of the Federal Constitution.

Article 152 states that Bahasa Melayu is the national language of Malaysia.