KUCHING, August 13: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii and Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei have expressed their regrets about Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad labelling Chinese educationist group Dong Zong as ‘racist’.
Yesterday, Bernama quoted Mahathir as describing Dong Zong, the United Chinese School Committees’ Association, as racist as it has never agreed with national education policies, including the introduction of Jawi calligraphy in schools.
He said apart from the Jawi calligraphy or ‘khat’ in schools issue, the group had also protested against the setting up of Vision School (Sekolah Wawasan) for fear of Chinese students mixing with other races.
Dr Yii said such labeling by Mahathir is wrong and it does not help to allay the concerns raised not just by the association but also the public at large.
He urged the Ministry of Education to properly engage in more dialogues with the relevant stakeholders including Dong Zong, Tamil school educationists and even the public at large to properly allay concerns over the ‘khat’ issue to make sure that the discussion is centred on the educational aspects of the issue without dragging in sentiments of race or even religion to further divide the people.
“Even though the assertion by Dong Zong that the introduction of Jawi lessons in Standard 4 Bahasa Malaysia as an attempt at Islamisation may not be accurate or paint the correct picture of the initiative, but the concerns raised by them should not be brushed aside as such concerns are not unfounded and possibly represent a large section of the Chinese community on the said issue. There is dissatisfaction over the matter on the ground as a fact and cannot be taken lightly,” Dr Yii said in a statement, today.
He opined that such dialogue and discussion must be discussed rationally based on education merits and the educational interest of the students rather than drag in the polemics of race or religion, or dismissing any concerns or dissatisfaction as due to racism.
“That is why it is also timely that Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng bring up the issue again in the upcoming Cabinet meeting as we do not want to see such an issue break the social fabric of our country when education is supposed to be the main thing to uplift and bring our nation forward.
“While the policy of introducing Jawi (in schools) was decided by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government, I hope that all our Pakatan Harapan (PH) ministers from now on will be more alert concerning the implementation of policies made during the previous era but which are being freshly introduced during the rule of PH,” Dr Yii said.
Meanwhile, Wong said it was inappropriate for Mahathir to say such thing.
The Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak vice-chairman asserted that the Chinese community has the right to raise their concerns and Mahathir should address their concerns and listen to it.
“As a prime minister, he should not label Dong Zong as racist,” Wong lamented.
He also reminded Mahathir that the latter should be a prime minister for all Malaysians under the spirit of a new government and not to continue the previous government’s style. — DayakDaily