THE Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah said vernacular schools must make sure their students were proficient in the national language.
They should have a degree of fluency in Bahasa Malaysia that is comparable, if not better than students in national schools.
He said the efforts of students in mastering the national language should be accepted as a challenge, and the achievement of the students in mastering it should be made one of the key indices of vernacular schools.
“The success of vernacular schools in getting their pupils to master the national language will help in building a united nation and minimise the uneasiness of some communities towards such schools,” he said.
The Sultan also noted that it was contradictory and ironic if a Malay-sian citizen could not understand, speak, write and read in the national language which is the identity of the nation.
He was speaking at the recent excellence awards ceremony of SMJK Sam Tet in Ipoh.
Also present at the event were the Raja Permaisuri of Perak Tuanku Zara Salim, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and his wife, Datin Seri Saripah Zulkifli.
When the National Education Policy was drafted, Sultan Nazrin said the concept of single school stream was introduced, but over the years vernacular schools were granted permission to continue operating.
He said the stand of the Government must therefore be appreciated and vernacular schools must prove that they are able to inculcate unity.
Meanwhile, he said non-Chinese schoolchildren in vernacular schools should be proactive in exploring the environment of students of various religions, races, cultures and languages to understand and cooperate with each other.
This was because the harmonious relationship among the races played an important role in building a more united and a brighter future for the country, said the Sultan.