S’wak Dong Zong appeals to omit teaching of Jawi in Chinese primary schools

Lau (centre) flanked by Wee (left) and Pau (right) during a press conference at Wisma Bapa Malaysia today

By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, Dec 8: Sarawak Dong Zong has appealed to the Education Ministry to omit the teaching and learning of Jawi scripts in Year Four Bahasa Melayu syllabus for Chinese primary schools.

Its chairman Temenggong Dato Vincent Lau said the Education Ministry should not make it compulsory for Chinese primary school pupils to learn Jawi scripts.

“Based on a survey conducted by the Ministry of Education this year, 97.3 per cent of boards of management for Chinese primary schools and parents objected to the teaching and learning of Jawi.

“Sarawak Dong Zong had conducted a similar survey on 222 Chinese primary schools comprising 169 boards of management and 50 Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) across Sarawak in February this year.

“The outcome of the survey indicated that 219 schools or 98.7 per cent of the total declined to accept the teaching and learning of Jawi.

“We are disappointed that the Ministry of Education insisted on implementing the teaching and learning of Jawi by including it in the Bahasa Melayu textbook despite the strong opinions of Chinese primary school boards of management and parents opposing the policy.

“Sarawak Dong Zong urges the federal government and the Ministry of Education to respect the opinions of Chinese primary schools.

“We would suggest making the teaching and learning of Jawi an optional extra-curricular activity instead,” he said during a press conference at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here today.

Lau pointed out that the Chinese community is not against Jawi or khat but respect Jawi’s cultural and religious identities.

Earlier, Lau together with a few board members of Sarawak Dong Zong paid a courtesy call on Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at the latter’s office.

Lau explained that the courtesy call was to brief Abang Johari about the issue of teaching and learning of Jawi in Chinese primary schools and to appeal to the state government to bring up the matter to the Federal Education Ministry.

He said Sarawak Dong Zong hoped that the federal government would heed the advice of Sarawak to maintain the status quo of Chinese primary schools in terms of teaching syllabus so as to address the concern of the Chinese community.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Dong Zong treasurer Dato Richard Wee said Abang Johari has taken note of the matter.

He said the chief minister will instruct Minister for Local Government and Housing Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian who is also the head of Special Unit for Aided Chinese Primary Schools in Sarawak to facilitate the matter and perform follow up with the Education Ministry.

Among those present include Sarawak Dong Zong deputy chairman Datuk Pau Chiong Ung and secretary Jonathan Chai who is also the Association of the Boards of Management of Aided Chinese Primary Schools in Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Division president. —DayakDaily