Is Education Act 1996 unconstitutional? 

Can justice Mohd Noor Abdullah tell us if the Education Act 1996 was enacted by Parliament for the purpose of dividing the people?

Jiwi Kathaiah, FMT

The former Appeal Court judge Mohd Noor Abdullah had on May 12, declared at a forum that the vernacular schools (SJKs) have no place in the national education system of this country as the Federal Constitution does not recognize them and should, therefore, be abolished.

He is reported to have raised the following points in support of his call to abolish the SKJs (Chinese and Tamil schools):

1. According to the constitution there should only be one stream of schools in this country.

2. The national-type schools (SJKs) should be abolished because the constitution does not recognize them.

3. The existence of Chinese, Tamil and private schools divides the people.

4. What is a single school? During the British era, there were government English schools, so now there should only be primary government schools and secondary government schools.

5. So the SJKs that exist today, the SJK (C) and (T), we change them to government schools. There will be no “type” schools, only primary and secondary schools.

6. If there are schools that oppose, then the way is to obtain a court order to declare that the existence of Chinese and Tamil schools is not legal and against the constitution.

7. The state funds used for Chinese and Tamil schools are not provided for under the constitution.

8. Article 12 of the constitution states that it shall not prejudice the right of the federal government or the state government to establish or help in establishing Islamic schools and incurs such expenditure as may be necessary.

For religious schools, the constitution says state funds can be used to set up such schools or to assist those who set up religious schools and to use state funds as much as needed. Where does it mention Chinese and Tamil schools?

The counter argument

A simple rebuttal to the points stated above is in order.

Point 1: If the former Appeal Court judge Mohd Noor Abdullah was referring to the Malaysian constitution, then it must be pointed out that nowhere in the constitution it is provided that “there should only be one stream of schools in this country.”

Point 2: Nowhere in the constitution it is stated that SKJs are not recognized. 

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