Court dismisses PPSMI appeal by students
PUTRAJAYA, May 23 — The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal brought by four students, including a son of former Perak mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin, against a court ruling that it is constitutional to teach Mathematics and Science in English.
In a unanimous decision, a three-man bench headed by Justice Datuk Wira Low Hop Bing, today ruled the appeal as academic since the trial judge, Justice Mohd Zawawi Salleh on May 7, 2010, did not have the benefit of the new circular issued by the Education Ministry.
On November 4 last year, the ministry had abolished the policy of teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI).
“In view of the new policy, and substituted with the old policy, the court views the appellants’ decision to challenge the High Court decision to be rendered as academic.
“We also express no view on the new policy. Hereby, we affirm the decision of the High Court and dismiss the appeal,” concluded Low.
The panel, also comprising justices Datuk Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad and Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi, did not order costs.
Earlier, counsel for the appellants, Mohamed Hanipa Maidin, contended that the appeal still involved some life issues, where the latest circular issued by the ministry did not totally abolish the teaching of both subjects in English at all levels, with immediate effect.
However, Senior Federal Counsel Shamsul Bolhassan pointed out to the court that the ministry should not abruptly make the changes at all levels, and it could only be carried out gradually.
Mohd Zawawi, in 2010, had ruled that two circulars on the execution of the policy over the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English in national and vernacular (Chinese and Tamil) schools did not contradict Article 152 of the Federal Constitution.
On January 20, 2006, the four students from Perak filed a suit seeking a declaration from the High Court that the teaching of Science and Mathematics in the English Language since 2003 is unconstitutional, invalid and ineffective.
Mohammad Syawwaal Mohammad Nizar, Mohammad Fadzil Nor Mohd Rosni, Nur Najihah Muhaimin and Syazaira Arham Yahya Ariff also wanted the court to order their respondent, the Government of Malaysia, to reinstate the previous policy, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and written laws.
In filing their originating summons, in which they were represented by their fathers, the students claimed the teaching of the two subjects in English did not take into account, provisions of the law, especially Article 152 of the Federal Constitution, the National Language Act 1967 and the Education Act 1996.
They claimed that with the implementation of the policy, they had been denied their right as students to study the two subjects in the national language when in fact, they had such right. — Bernama