KUCHING, Feb 9 ― Vernacular schools are part of Malaysia's education system and will not be removed, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib said today.
Najib also highlighted that he had taken measures to safeguard the independence of Chinese schools when he had been education minister.
"We have the National Blue Print for education that makes sure that national type schools (Chinese) are enshrined in that document as a commitment of the Barisan Nasional government that Chinese education is here today, and to continue to serve our community and nation," he said at the opening of the new blocks of Chung Hua School No. 4.
"When I was an education minister, I repealed Section 21(2) of the Education Act that empowered the minister to convert Chinese school into national type school," he added.
The prime minister further said he was considering a branch campus of a Chinese university in Kuala Lumpur, which would be a first in Malaysia.
Najib said that, as finance minister, he never failed to provide allocations to Chinese schools, noting that RM50 million was set aside this year.
"I also encouraged my son to learn Mandarin, he is now very proficient in it, and wherever he goes in Beijing, he is very popular with the Chinese there," the prime minister added.
He said the current era has made it more important than before for Malaysians to be connected to the rest of the world.
Learning languages such as Mandarin and English was one way to do so, Najib said.