When does learning another language cause disunity?

I am not sure if vernacular schools are protected by the Federal Constitution. I shall leave it to judges and constitutional experts to decide on this.

I am also not sure if questioning the existence of vernacular schools is seditious. I shall again leave that to the lawyers and judges.

What I am concerned with is myopic and dumb politicians who are willing to say anything to appease their constituents and hopefully to gain political power someday.

I am referring to the call by a PAS politician to shut down vernacular schools and that Mandarin should never be allowed to become the second language in this country.

How much more animosity do we want to create in this country? How much more do we want to further divide this country? Since when does learning another language become the root cause of disunity and a disadvantage to a country?

Why do we not look at the many other countries with a single major language and religion? Do they have the national cohesion and unity that we expect? If they do not, why is it that we are harping on the same old issue here in Malaysia again and again.

We have hundreds of factors causing disunity in this country, but somehow the factor that stands out is the existence of vernacular schools.

We killed English, the language that would have provided this country with a great advantage in terms of access to information, knowledge, and mobility. Instead of regretting it, some dumb politicians think they have not done enough damage. Now they want to kill Mandarin too, precisely at a time when China’s economic and political power is on the ascent. Talk about dumbness.

I can never understand the vindictiveness portrayed – shut down the vernacular schools and stop Mandarin from becoming the second language.

I thought any enlightened leader or politician would have asked our people, regardless of racial background, to learn Mandarin starting from now. Instead, they prefer to make our people ignorant, uncompetitive and insular.

I think some politicians don’t understand what “earning a living” is about. They don’t understand the underlying factors driving competitiveness, productivity, investment and export.

Maybe these politicians have not earned a single ringgit in their lives before. Maybe they are fulltime recipients of political donations and welfare payments.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.