Ex-deputy education minister slams call to close vernacular schools

Teo Nie Ching asks Wan Ahmad Fayhsal if he is assuming that students in vernacular schools are not nationalistic.

PETALING JAYA: A former deputy education minister has slammed a call for the abolition of vernacular schools, arguing that such schools are “very much Malaysian”.

Teo Nie Ching said more than 18% of students at Chinese vernacular schools or SJKCs are non-Chinese.

One good example, she said, is SJKC Ladang Grisek, which Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong recently visited. About 68% of the students there are non-Chinese.

In Sabah, 71.5% of the students enrolled in SJKCs are also non-Chinese.

“Vernacular schools do not cater to one race or identity only. They are very much Malaysian and reflect the spirit of the Rukun Negara,” she said in a statement.

The Kulai MP said this in response to Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal’s call for such schools to be abolished in stages.

Wan Ahmad Fayshal, who is the PPBM Youth chief, claimed that vernacular schools have not produced students who possess a “strong national identity”.

Teo wondered if he assumed that students from such schools, including their Bumiputera students, are not nationalistic.

She also asked if Wan Ahmad Fayshal was also implying that their parents are also not nationalistic or patriotic.

“I dare say this is a dangerous assumption to make, as students from vernacular schools are capable children and able to contribute significantly to nation building.” she said.

Teo also called on Muhyiddin Yassin, as both PPBM president and prime minister, to state if the party shares the view of its youth wing.

“If Tan Sri Muhyiddin fails to do so, I would say this is one of the saddest Independence Day celebrations in Malaysian history,” she added.