Federal Court dismisses attempt to question vernacular schools’ constitutionality

The Federal Court decided that Parliament has authority over vernacular schools. — Bernama pic
The Federal Court decided that Parliament has authority over vernacular schools. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — Lawyer Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz has failed to obtain leave to pursue his constitutional challenge at the Federal Court on the existence of vernacular schools.

Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed dismissed Mohd Khairul’s application to obtain leave to pursue his challenge.

Mohd Khairul needs to obtain leave from a single judge of the Federal Court under Article 4 (4) of the Federal Constitution as he is challenging the competency of the federal legislature to pass laws.

In his motion filed on Oct 23 this year, Mohd Khairul sought a declaration from the Federal Court that it was unconstitutional for Parliament to pass an amendment to Sections 17 and 28 of the Education Act 1996 for the continued existence of vernacular school.

In his judgment, the Chief Judge held that Parliament can formulate laws on education and matters auxiliary to it.

He also said Mohd Khairul’s matter should commence at the High Court and not straight to the Federal Court.

“The High Court is competent to hear such challenge,” said justice Azahar.

Mohd Khairul had filed the motion, naming the Government of Malaysia and the Education Minister as respondents.

He contended that Chinese and Tamil national-type schools established by the Minister of Education, are contrary to Article 152 (1) of the Federal Constitution which states that national language shall be the Malay language.

Mohd Khairul’s counsel Datuk Shaharudin Ali told the media that their might file a new motion on the issue to the High Court. — Bernama

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