KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 — The High Court in Kota Baru has allowed Ikatan Guru Guru Muslim Malaysia’s (IGuru) application to reinstate its lawsuit to declare vernacular schools as unconstitutional in Malaysia.
The application was filed by IGuru president Mohd Azizee Hasan who was represented by Datuk Shaharudin Ali while federal counsel Nik Nur Adila Mat Zaidan from the Attorney General Chambers (AGC) appeared for the government and the Education Ministry.
High Court judge Wan Ahmad Farid made his decision this morning after the originating summons was previously struck off on January 25 as no lawyer was present to appear for Azizee at the time.
The court then set February 28 for case management for an application by the AGC to transfer the case to the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
Shaharudin in a statement today said his client will challenge this application as they deemed the High Court in Kota Baru the appropriate venue for the matter.
“The intention of the application was to consolidate all vernacular cases to a specified Kuala Lumpur High Court.
“The Plaintiff will be opposing such application by the Attorney General’s Chambers because we take the position that the High Court of Kota Baru has the jurisdiction and is competent to determine the constitutional issues posed to the Court,’’ said Shahrudin.
Last year, two similar challenges were mounted by different groups to seek clarity on Article 152 of the Federal Constitution in relation to the use of the national language as the main medium of instructions in schools and to determine if Sections 17 and 28 of the Education Act violated the constitution.
In 2019, Putra vice-president Mohd Khairul Azam filed a similar lawsuit in his second attempt to have vernacular schools declared unconstitutional, after his first failed in November of that year.
In his lawsuit against the education minister and Malaysian government, Mohd Khairul Azam claimed Sections 28 and 17 of the Education Act are invalid due to alleged inconsistencies with Act 152 of the Federal Constitution.
In February of last year, the High Court had also allowed 14 organisations, including political parties such as MCA, MIC, Gerakan and education and language groups, to become part of Mohd Khairul Azam ‘s constitutional challenge.
Mohd Khairul was also represented by Shaharudin at the time.