By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, August 5: Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing says it is outrageous for the Ministry of Education to include khat or Jawi calligraphy in primary school curriculum starting next year, despite the widespread opposition from the Chinese community.
“It only shows that the Minister and his deputy have chosen to completely ignore the wishes of the public. Even with clear public opposition, they have chosen the other extreme, in a wholly undemocratic way,” Tiong said today.
“The moment news of the calligraphy inclusion was made public, it was very clear that there was much public outrage and concern. Parents are worried about unnecessary increase of their children’s workload and Bahasa teachers are bracing with yet another subject to prepare for their already packed schedules,” he said.
Tiong who is Bintulu MP said Maszlee has failed to realise that in Malaysia’s multi-culturalism, any subject related to religion and education were sensitive issues and would engender concern and debate.
“By mishandling it, Maszlee will be responsible for provoking hatred between races. Will he be able to resolve such issues if they (those opposing the introduction of khat to primary school curriculum) flare up?
“Since PH’s taking hold of the Ministry of Education for close to a year and a half, has it really implemented any meaningful reform, besides implementing insubstantial moves like black shoes and swimming lessons? Despite so much public consternation with the education system, there has not been any substantial policy change for the better,” opined Tiong.
He also criticised Deputy Minister of Education Teo Nie Ching for aping the Education Minister by continuing to make boastful comparisons of her performance to the previous government.
“Despite her savvy social media posts to slam the previous government, she has not made meaningful progress on the recognition of the UEC either. Her constant reasoning was that social harmony must be prioritised above any policy change,” he said.
Tiong insisted that he was not against giving students the chance to learn more languages and skills.
“But these subjects should be made elective, not mandatory by the Ministry of Education. Maszlee has chosen to bulldoze the policy through without a care about public opinion. Instead of white washing over this incompetent decision in rhetoric, the PH government should actually listen to the people in order to reignite public confidence in our education system,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tiong also lashed out at Sarawak Pakatan Harapan chairman Chong Chieng Jen for not to protecting Sarawak’s education autonomy.
“Whatever statements put up by the DAP is just empty talk now, having destroyed any trust the people have left in them. The statement made by Sarawak DAP Chief Chong Chieng Jen recently is simply to save face after they have failed miserably to bring the voices of the people they claim to serve to the Cabinet,” added Tiong.— DayakDaily