Federal Court's decision is a victory for vernacular schools, says Dr Wee Ka Siong

PETALING JAYA: The Federal Court's rule of throwing out leave by two groups' appeal to declare vernacular schools unconstitutional is the final victory for such schools, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

The MCA president said the Apex Court's decision ended the entire case.

"The issue challenging the existence and constitutional right of vernacular schools to use Chinese and Tamil as the medium of instruction has officially concluded satisfactorily, with vernacular schools securing the final victory!

"This affirms that the use of Mandarin and Tamil as medium of instruction in vernacular schools is a right protected by the Federal Constitution and therefore does not contravene it," he said on Tuesday (Feb 20).

On Tuesday, the Federal Court ruled that vernacular schools are constitutional in a majority two-one decision, refusing the leave to two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that appealed to seek to declare that the use of Chinese and Tamil languages as the medium of instruction in vernacular schools goes against the Federal Constitution.

ALSO READ: Federal Court upholds constitutionality of vernacular schools in Malaysia

A three-member Federal Court bench chaired by Judges Datuk Mary Lim Thiam Suan denied a leave appeal for the Islamic Education Development Council (Mappim) and the Coalition of National Writers' Association (Gapena).

Lim and Judge Datuk Rhodzhariah Bujang ruled against granting leave, while Judge Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil was in the minority.

This meant that the Court of Appeal's decision on November 23 last year, which ruled that vernacular schools in the country were constitutional, stands.

Dr Wee said that from the beginning of the case until its conclusion, MCA has appointed representative lawyers to intervene and act as the defending party, actively defending the status of vernacular schools and the right to use vernacular languages as the medium of instruction.

"We express gratitude for the judge's ruling and, more importantly, for the foresight of the founders of our party, who, from the perspective of the constitution and system, in black and white, have safeguarded the legal status of vernacular schools and the legitimate right of people of all ethnicities to receive vernacular education.

"MCA will continue to do its utmost to defend the existence of a multi-stream education system firmly, strive to promote the robust development of Chinese education, and never disappoint the foundation laid by the pioneers of our nation," he added.

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