By INS Contributors

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--The recent call by Bersatu Youth to abolish vernacular schools is nothing but extremist rhetoric that threatens to widen the unity gap between the country's various groups, MIC's Datuk Sivaraj Chandran said on Wednesday.

Sivaraj, who also heads Barisan Nasional's (BN) special task force on UNDI 18, had strong words for proponents of such ideas.

"I follow closely on the recent development, especially on Bersatu Youth, which opined that the Malay language can only be upheld as the national language if vernacular education is abolished.

"Turning vernacular schools into a punching bag just to present oneself as a 'fighter for the national language' is in my view an irresponsible short-term action. For me, such a view jeopardises national unity," Sivarraajh said in a statement today.

Sivaraj also pointed out that vernacular education is a colonial legacy system, and he stressed that the importance of its existence had been acknowledged through a series of discussions in the early period of the Malaysian nation.

“The Razak Report 1956 enabled a national and vernacular education system, with Malay as the main medium of instruction while other languages are allowed as the medium of instruction in vernacular schools.”

“It is irresponsible to use the vernacular education system as a punching bag in order to portray oneself as a national language fighter.”

“Many Indians or Chinese, and even vernacular education graduates, are much more fluent in the Malay language today. Please do not come up with such half-baked statements or views just to look like a hero and gain political support,“ Sivaraj said.

Recently, Deputy National Unity Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal, reportedly called for vernacular schools to be phased out.

However, Wan Ahmad Fayhsal clarified that he merely wanted the institution to strengthen the Malay language and not abolish them.

Meanwhile, Bersatu Youth information chief Mohd Ashraf Mustaqim Badrul Munir said the syllabus in vernacular schools deviates from Malaysian history and has failed to uphold the national language.