Jawi lessons: Hold town hall session, consult with NGOs first

Peter John Jaban

KUCHING, Aug 23: Sarawak activist Peter John Jaban expressed his disappointment with the Ministry of Education (MoE) for not consulting Sarawakian and Sabahan non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in implementing Jawi lessons in schools.

He said the shallow assumption of the MoE that Sarawak and Sabah were in agreement with the idea of Jawi’s forced insertion into Bahasa Malaysia subject, was totally baseless and showed the highest order of ignorance towards the real sentiment of parents and the public of the two Borneon states.

“Why Sarawak and Sabah NGOs were deliberately marginalised in the Jawi and Khat consultation process by the ministry?,” he questioned in a media release today.

“It is shameful that the Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching failed repeatedly to invite or meet Sarawak and Sabah NGOs for consultation and conveniently muted our voice in decision making and hoping that we will bow to her decision. She totally miscalculated,” he criticised.

“Now, Sabah and Sarawak are roaring against forced implementation of Jawi onto non-Muslims or non-Malays,” added Peter, who is also founder of Solidariti Anak Sarawak (SAS).


He also questioned the segregated solution to impose Jawi for Sekolah Kebangsaan (national) schools and Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (vernacular) schools, saying that like SJK schools, the SK schools should also be given an option to have Jawi lessons or not.

“Why Non-Muslims are penalised for attending SK schools with divinatory policy practices?,” he asked.

“We have yet to know the real objective of such a quiet move by the MoE and there is a great amount of deficit of trust,” he pointed out.

Peter thus urged MoE to postpone the implementation of Jawi lessons next year to clear doubts and lay down a complete plan as well as consulting NGOs from Sabah and Sarawak first.

“Sabah and Sarawak NGOs demand MoE to have consultation with us NGOs. What is the need to bulldoze thru now if it is not driven by a hidden agenda?,” he said.

He also suggested that the MoE hold town hall meetings with NGOs and the public in Sarawak and Sabah, or meetings at the two states’ Education Departments.

“We Dayaks and other Sarawakians are joining hands with our Indian counterparts in Peninsula Malaysia to request for a postponement and any solution must also include SK schools,” he said.

“It is totally unacceptable to alienate SK schools, and SK schools are not Malay schools but national schools that should reflect the aspiration of all races and aspects. We are now working closely, and are part of the Seni Khat Action Team (Sekat),” he added.

He urged Minister of Education Dr Mazlee Malik not to discriminate Sabahan, the Indians and Sarawakian students in SK schools by imposing Jawi onto them while giving options for SJK schools to teach or not.

“Discriminatory policies based on race should be a thing of the past, not Malaysia Baru. Let’s postponed the implementation and have an inclusive solution with multi parties and stakeholders consultations,” he stressed.— DayakDaily