KUCHING, Aug 28 — Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) president Bobby William today said Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia senator Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal should be more respectful about the rights of other communities when it comes to the topic of vernacular schools in the country.
He said disrespecting the rights of other communities can lead to racial and religious tensions in the country.
“As a product of a Chinese school, I find the statement by Wan Fayhsal very disturbing as it can lead to racial disharmony,” Bobby said when asked to respond to the senator’s call to abolish vernacular schools in the country.
He said Chinese education has helped him to be more tolerant towards other communities.
“Although I am a Dayak, I speak Mandarin with many of my Chinese friends, and we don’t see Mandarin as a racial barrier,” he said adding that many PBDSB members were educated in rural Chinese schools.
Bobby rejected Wan Fayhsal’s claim that vernacular schools fail to produce students with a strong national identity.
“I hope that is his personal view, and not that of Bersatu’s Youth wing,” he said.
Bobby said if it is also Bersatu Youth’s position, then it is bad for the country as Bersatu is part of the ruling Perikatan Nasional (PN) federal government.
Bobby reminded Wan Fayhsal that as a deputy youth and sports minister he is supposed to bring the youths from all the communities together, and not fan anti-racial sentiments.
“I strongly believe that vernacular school is not the cause of racial barrier, I will be contesting in the Chinese-majority Senadin constituency in the coming state election,” he said.
On Wednesday, Wan Ahmad Fayhsal had said Bersatu’s Youth wing will continue to support the abolition of vernacular schools in the country.
He claimed in a statement that the vernacular schools have not produced students who possess a “strong national identity”.