1. When we became independent in 1957 we had a clear idea about education in Malaysia. We wanted every Malaysian child to go to national schools where the medium of teaching would be the National Language based on the Malay language, the language of indigenous people. They would know and be close to each other, get used to their different cultures and be distinctly Malaysian.
2. For a time the “English Schools” were to be allowed to go on. The students at these schools were from all the ethnic groups in Malaysia.
3. When Minister Aziz Ishak as acting Education Minister decided that all schools must be converted to national schools with the national language as the teaching medium, the Chinese raised a big row. Cabinet then decided that the vernacular language schools would be allowed. They were re-designated “Jenis Kebangsaan” or National Type. The national type primary vernacular schools would receive Government aid but the national type secondary schools were not to be supported by Government. The decision was political. Nothing in the Constitution provided for this. Then another Education Minister in 1971 decided to abolish Government secondary schools which teach in English.