Plan to introduce Jawi calligraphy in schools ‘totally flies in the face’ of consensus

Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing

KUCHING, July 30: Bintulu member of parliament (MP) Dato Sri Tiong King Sing has urged the Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders to carefully examine the weaknesses in the current education system and implement real substantial educational reform.

“Instead of recognising the Unified Examination Certification (UEC) the PH has promised for years, we now have the ‘pleasure’ of being treated to this show of introducing Jawi writings to our schools’ syllabus,” he said in expressing his disappointment in a press release today.

“Millions had hope that the coalition will finally recognise the UEC, but instead they extended the deadline again,” he criticised.

Tiong, who is also Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president, was commenting Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching’s intention to introduce Khat or Jawi calligraphy art in all national vernacular (SJKC and SJKT) schools.

“The proposal ‘totally flies’ in the face of consensus with the stakeholders, namely the Chinese communities she pretends to represent. She clearly has not heard nor appreciated the dissatisfaction from the communities affected,” he said.

He pointed out that the Education Ministry’s implementation plans should be subjected to a series of reviews and assessments to determine that they were suitable to the long term development of the country.

“There are too many stakeholders for our education and children development to be politicised and carried without consensus,” he said.

“The children and their parents deserve the piece of mind from well thought out and transparent education policies and programmes,” he added.

Tiong felt puzzled as to how the PH government can be so inconsistent and contradictory in its statements and promises to the people.

He questioned why the Ministry not think of introducing the culture and art of all Malaysian ethnic groups to be taken up as projects and electives so that the students can choose according to their interests.

“Doing so would not only promote awareness of our diverse local cultural heritage but also help cultural exchanges as well, leading to racial harmony from a young age,” he said.

“Why only introduce Jawi calligraphy? Why not include Chinese or Tamil calligraphy in the syllabus as well?” he asked.

Tiong stressed that he was not hostile or looking down on the culture and art of any ethnic group, but it was sad to witness the Ministry of Education under the new Cabinet repeatedly implement new policies that seemed to make children’s education a play thing.

“The main problem is that the deputy minister has approached her responsibilities in a flawed manner. Her inconsistency makes her look like a two-faced person after taking office, one who has deceived and failed the people repeatedly,” he said.

“Saying that the inclusion of Jawi calligraphy in the syllabus is open for discussion naturally creates suspicion. Is she and her cohorts trying to please a specific person or group, at the expense of the community she claims to represent?” he asked.

“More and more the PH coalition, especially the DAP, acts like a political creature that uses our young people’s future as a bargaining chip for power,” he added.

The Ministry of Education, he reminded was one of the main pillars of development for the country and any decisions by this department must be carefully considered for their long term repercussions.

“It is after all, the future of our children we are talking about and how we can provide the best quality education and cultivate talents of international calibre, ones able to contribute to the nation’s continued growth and progress,” he concluded. — DayakDaily