Appeals Court rules use of Tamil, Chinese languages as medium of instruction in vernacular schools constitutional

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 23: The Court of Appeal here today dismissed the appeals brought by four organisations which sought a declaration that the existence and establishment of vernacular schools and the use of Chinese and Tamil languages in those schools are unconstitutional.

The four organisations are Islamic Education Development Council (Mappim) and the Confederation of Malaysian Writers Association (Gapena), Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) and Ikatan Guru-Guru Muslim Malaysia (I-Guru).

The decision was delivered by a three-man panel comprising Justices Datuk Supang Lian, Datuk M. Gunalan and Datuk Azizul Azmi Adnan today.

In the court’s decision, Justice Azizul said vernacular school is not a public authority and as such the use of Tamil and Chinese languages as the medium of instruction for teaching in those schools are constitutional.

On Dec 29, 2021, High Court judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali (now Court of Appeal judge) dismissed the lawsuits brought by the Federation of Peninsular Malay Students (GPMS), Mappim, Gapena and Isma. GPMS did not file the appeal to the Court of Appeal.

On May 29, last year, the Kota Bahru High Court judicial commissioner Abazafree Mohd Abbas (now High Court judge) also ruled that the existence of vernacular schools is constitutional and he dismissed the suit filed by I-Guru.