KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today said his party would rather Bersatu’s Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal apologise and withdraw his previous remark calling for the abolition of vernacular schools in the country.
Lim was making clear his party’s stand as rising political pressure — including from some DAP members — on the authorities to launch a sedition investigation on the deputy youth and sports minister.
The Bagan MP pointed out that Article 152(1) of the Federal Constitution clearly provides for the preservation and study of languages other than Bahasa Malaysia, which have been widely interpreted as allowing vernacular schools to operate in the country.
He noted that there had even been precedents in which those who spoke against vernacular schools previously were prosecuted for sedition.
“To prevent racial provocation on the language issue, laws have been enacted to prohibit even MPs from relying on parliamentary privilege to question Article 152, when they speak in Parliament.
“There was even an MP who was charged and convicted of sedition in 1982 for speaking in Parliament calling for the closure of vernacular schools,” Lim said in a statement.
He claimed Wan Ahmad had “flagrantly violated the Federal Constitution” with his remarks on vernacular schools last month.
“Should the deputy minister then be charged [with] sedition? DAP prefers instead that the deputy minister withdraw and apologise to put an end to this unconstitutional racial polemic that will only divide rather than unite Malaysians,” Lim said.
He accused Wan Ahmad Fayhsal of attempting to undermine the Constitution and setting a “bad example” for young Malaysians.
Lim said that while strengthening the command of Bahasa Malaysia in vernacular schools will gain the support of all Malaysians, the call to shutter such schools to achieve the said objective is irrational and extreme in nature.
In a statement last month as the new Bersatu Youth chief, Wan Ahmad Fayhsal claimed vernacular schools have not produced students who possess a “strong national identity” and demanded their closure.