By Jaythaleela K
MIRI, Aug 13: Calling educationist group Dong Zong as “racist” is uncalled for, especially when they were merely voicing out concerns and ground feedback on the teaching of khat or Jawi calligraphy in Chinese primary schools next year.
Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting said the party shared its grave concern, disappointment and disbelief, along with the majority of Malaysian Chinese with the recent remark of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“With the new Pakatan Harapan government after GE14, Malaysians as a whole, were looking forward to a new Malaysia with new hopes and expectations as contained in Pakatan’s manifesto.
“The manifestos were so convincing, wonderful and indeed touched the hearts and mind of the majority Malaysians, who voted for the Pakatan government, especially 95 per cent of the Chinese.
“However, none expected our prime minister to say what he did, as they were expecting him to be different this time around to the one who governed this country for 22 years between 1981 and 2003,” the Piasau assemblyman opined.
Ting believed Dr Mahathir’s remark had hurt the feelings of the majority Chinese in this country, especially Sarawakians.
He added that all these years, Dong Zong is seen as a well-respected body for upholding Chinese education and doing their best for Malaysian students in many ways.
Therefore, it was only natural that the organisation expressed worry of khat being a compulsory subject for pupils in Chinese schools, he continued.
“Our prime minister had previously said and reiterated that he would be a prime minister for all Malaysians. He also said so many times in the past that anyone is free to criticise him.
“Being a leader of any country, he had said that they would not be free of constructive criticisms and in this case, Dong Zong is pointing out disagreement with policies implemented by the what they deemed an ‘inexperienced’ education minister.
“This should have triggered him (Dr Mahathir) to name calling those who do not agree with him,” Ting said.
He advised the Education Ministry to focus on equipping students with modern knowledge such as computer programming or even look into mental arithmetic that is taught in private tuition centres, which would be more beneficial.
Ting said to become a prime minister for Malaysians, Dr Mahathir’s primary duty was to unite all races with different religions, cultures and customs.
He said the people are more interested in the Cabinet ministers to focus on improving the country’s economy.
“SUPP hopes there will be no more name calling on any organisation or individuals, as we should be living in peace and harmony. There must be total respect for each other, irrespective of race, religion and culture, as we always proudly proclaim to have unity in diversity.”
Ting said Sarawakians are anxiously waiting for Pakatan government to make good on their election promises. — DayakDaily