KOTA KINABALU: Sabah parties today waded into the controversy surrounding the call by a deputy minister to abolish vernacular schools in Malaysia.
Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) deputy president Yee Moh Chai rallied the Chinese community to stand firm and protest against the “irrational” proposal by Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal.
“Any statement proposing to abolish vernacular schools is seditious and should be condemned,” he said.
“The authorities should take appropriate action against such calls.”
According to Yee, who is a former Sabah deputy chief minister, Wan Ahmad Fayhsal’s proposal had violated the fundamental rights of a community to use its mother tongue in education, as enshrined under the Federal Constitution.
Wan Ahmad Fayshal, who is the PPBM Youth chief, had claimed that vernacular schools had not produced students who possess a “strong national identity”.
Former deputy education minister Teo Nie Ching responded by saying vernacular schools were “very much Malaysian”.
Other parties such as MCA and Pakatan Harapan have also rebuked Wan Ahmad Fayshal over the matter.
Yee said he was appalled that there were still people trying to disrupt unity and harmony.
“Malaysia is a blessed country. Since gaining independence, the respective rights of our multiracial population are protected under the constitution, which includes the freedom to use our mother tongue in education,” he said.
“As a result, many Malaysians are multilingual, an attribute that is highly valued and recognised in a competitive global market.”
Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) information chief Chin Vui Kai also criticised Wan Ahmad Fayshal, saying that parties from the peninsula should stop this “unhealthy culture of racism”.
“Now we have a newly minted PPBM Youth chief, who is also a deputy minister, calling for the phasing out of vernacular schools in Malaysia,” said Chin.
“This racism is like a cancer. It needs to be stopped early before it destroys our country.”
He said he believed Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who has described himself as a moderate, would put a stop to such remarks.