KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy national unity minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal has clarified his strong stand made last year on vernacular schools, saying all he was asking for was for the institutions to strengthen the Malay language and not to abolish them.
He further said that he made the call in his capacity as Bersatu Youth chief and not as a government spokesman.
“I focused my statement on asking the vernacular schools to strengthen the Malay language as a way to instil unity.
“It’s crucial for everyone to work together on the issue,” he told Steven Sim (PH-Bukit Mertajam) who asked for his stand on vernacular schools now after calling for them to be abolished last year.
Sim said such calls go against the “Keluarga Malaysia” concept, adding that there seems to be a misunderstanding that vernacular schools do not instil unity.
The former youth and sports minister pointed out that the schools’ syllabi, teachers and administrators are under the jurisdiction of the education ministry, just like the national schools.
“The national unity minister (Halimah Mohamed Sadique) said vernacular schools will not be abolished while her deputy says it needs to be done away with,” he said, and urged him (Wan Fayhsal) to state his current stand on the issue.
News reports in August last year had quoted Wan Fayhsal as saying the Bersatu Youth wing supported the abolition of vernacular schools, claiming that they have not produced students who possess a “strong national identity”.
However, Sim was unhappy with Wan Faysal’s clarification as he said that the deputy minister’s reply today confused the Dewan Rakyat as he had actually called for vernacular schools to be abolished last year.
“If you want to strengthen the Malay language, I agree, but your reply is not truthful,” he told Wan Fayhsal.