Sekat to file judicial review if Jawi lesson proceeds

Arun (centre) and Sarawak Sekat leaders William Mangor (left) and Freedy Misid holding a copy of the petition submitted to the Education Ministry, calling for the postponement to introduce Jawi lesson.

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Nov 1: Seni Khat Action Team (Sekat) will file a judicial review if the Education Ministry continues with the introduction of Jawi lessons in primary school syllabus next year.

Sekat national secretary Arun Dorasamy said the judicial review will be filed in Sarawak and Putrajaya based on the Federal Constitution Article 152 and the National Language Act 1967, Act 32.

Article 152 explains that the Malay language is the official language, while Act 32(9) states the script of the national language shall be the Rumi (Latin alphabet) script; provided that this shall not prohibit the use of Malay script, more commonly known as the Jawi script, of the national language.

“Jawi is optional. Now you put it in the Malay Language (school lessons), making it compulsory. That is our strong legal point,” Arun told a press conference after meeting with state Education director Dr Azhar Ahmad here today.

He said the judicial review can only be filed after the implementation of the new education policy of introduction of Jawi into the primary school syllabus on Jan 2, 2020, when school begins.

“We cannot file judicial review against a government policy before it is being implemented. So it is on Jan 2, after it is being implemented.”

Arun said the Jawi issue is not a “set in the stone” decision as the Education Ministry thought, as the voices of Sarawakians and Sabahans have yet to be heard

“They (Education Ministry) are ready to implement in 2020 and we are constantly telling (them) that voices from Sarawak, Sabah have yet to be heard. I don’t know why the ministry is continuously ignoring Sabah and Sarawak,” said Arun.

He said that he had come to Sarawak to find out the views of Sarawakians on the issue.

“We come here to meet all the NGOs and grassroots and they have so much fear. I think the good hospitality of Sarawak and Sabah, being polite, being quiet, are being abused by Putrajaya.

“Just because they are being silent, it doesn’t mean they agree to you. I think the Education Ministry has moral obligation and duty bound to call Sarawak and Sabah, to reckon with them their concern.”

He reiterated that until now, Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching has yet to release the Aug 21 minute of meetings at the Education Ministry to prove she did not say that Sarawak and Sabah had agreed to Jawi introduction.

He claimed Teo had said otherwise during the meeting.

Arun warned that Sekat will also call for all parents to withhold their children from going to school for a day as a last resort to protest against the introduction of Jawi lessons in primary school syllabus when school begins next year. — DayakDaily