KUALA LUMPUR: Former Appeals Court judge Datuk Mohd Noor Abdullah said he should not be labelled a racist as he needed the space to explain certain issues based on the Federal Constitution.
"Politicians see my statements from a narrow viewpoint, I want to explain myself according to the constitution and should be given the room for the people to listen and not to shut me up by calling me a racist and names like Datuk Mohd Noor Klu Klux Klan or Hitler.
"Do not be like that, give me the space to explain what are the parameters in the constitution for the people to live in peace," he said on Bernama TV's Helo Malaysia programme broadcast on Astro channel 502.
Mohd Noor was criticised by many parties, especially the Opposition, for issuing statements said to be seditious relating to vernacular schools, at a forum entitled "GE13 Post-Mortem Discourse : Leadership Discussions and Survival of the Muslims" organised by the Peninsular Malay Students Association (GPMS) recently.
Mohd Noor said Article 152 of the Constitution recognised only one language, Bahasa Malaysia, to unite Malaysians and for official usage.
"It is just a relaxation for whoever in the country wishing learn his mother tongue.
"Whether it is Chinese, Japanese or Tamil, anyone can do so but on his own, so the rights of Chinese and Tamil private schools are not removed," he said.
"(If) Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) is for Malays, Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan China (SJKC) for Chinese, Sekolah Jenis Kebangssan Tamil (SJKT) for Indians, when will our future generations be learning in the same class, eating in one canteen, when? There is no room for that," he said.
He said it would be better for SJKs to be government schools like the Government English School at one time where students had the chance to learn various languages.
"At such schools, we can have one compulsory alternative subject that is English as it is an international language, besides Bahasa Malaysia which is the national language.
"After this, we encourage our students to learn Arabic as Malays are Muslims, at the same time we encourage all Malaysians to study Chinese and Tamil as both languages are world economic languages," he said.
Mohd Noor said if Malaysians understood the Constitution, it would prevent further friction among the people.
"Unfortunately, the people do not understand the Constitution as they interpret it according to their own interests and individual political directions, and those facing its adverse consequences are the people who are blind followers," he said.
Mohd Noor, who is fluent in Tamil, said he had also called MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel to say that he was speaking the truth and only stated what was found in the Constitution.
"I am not a politician who talks about politics, I am not paid and did not do it for any party, I am just speaking the truth," he added. - Bernama