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By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, July 13: SUPP Youth Central secretary-general Milton Foo questions the rationale of Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri for declaring Fridays as Jawi Day.
He described the move as illogical and opined that it is a narrow-minded policy inherited from the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government which has proven to have been rejected by the people.
In a statement, the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Youth leader criticised Zulkifli for failing to take cognisance of Malaysia as a multi-ethnic and multicultural nation, adding that under the Malaysia Agreement and the Federal Constitution, Malaysia not only belonged to Malaya but also Sabah and Sarawak.
He asserted the Jawi script policy introduced by the PH government has been criticised by people of all ethnic groups, including the Malays, who believe that by compulsorily requiring other ethnic groups to learn a certain type of calligraphy is against the spirit of the Federal Constitution.
Foo emphasised Malaysia’s official language is Bahasa Malaysia (BM) rather than Jawi, while English is still the official language in Sarawak other than BM.
“Following the minister’s logic and reasoning, does it mean that the government has to fix (a) Malay or English day in order to consolidate the official language? Should it be set on Monday? Or Tuesday?
“It also follows that in order to preserve our national heritage, do we also have to set up (an) Iban language day and Kadazan Dusun language day?
“What about Tamil language day and Chinese calligraphy day?,” Foo questioned.
He opined that the minister’s justification is not only far-fetched and misconceived, but also an inverted step that does not conform to the diversity of Malaysian cultures and religious beliefs.
Foo emphasised that mutual respect between ethnic groups does not require setting aside a special day or a day in the week to serve as a reminder.
He expressed belief mutual respect between ethnic groups is integrated in people’s daily lives and it is only meaningful when all Malaysians practise thus. — DayakDaily