GEORGE TOWN: The "suqiu" (appeal) in the planned Dec 28 gathering is related to vernacular education in the country and has nothing to do with race, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic).
The MCA president said the suqiu was meant to question the implementation of Jawi calligraphy module in Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools, as well as to safeguard the authority of school boards in deciding school policies and follow the Cabinet decision in August in resolving the issue.
“If the Pakatan Harapan-led government had not disregarded the wishes of the Chinese community and insisted on implementing Jawi calligraphy module in Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools, and even marginalised the authority of the school boards, do you think educationist group Dong Jiao Zong would have hosted such a gathering?
“Does Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad feel that the Chinese community have nothing else better to do than to organise it out of the blue just to pass time?” Dr Wee asked on his Facebook page on Saturday (Dec 21).
Educationist group Dong Jiao Zong has called on the nation’s Chinese associations to join in the gathering on Dec 28 over the proposed implementation of Jawi calligraphy module in vernacular schools.
The gathering, scheduled for Dec 28, is aimed at urging the government to do away with the module on Jawi script in vernacular schools, especially within the curricular.
To this, Dr Mahathir had said the planned gathering by Chinese associations over the Jawi calligraphy module issue would further divide the country.
He said the Malays would have their own gathering and talk about closing Chinese schools.
Dr Wee said during the Malay Dignity Congress, the appeals were that scholarships should only be given to Malay students and that vernacular schools should be abolished in six years’ time.
“Which gathering promotes racism and being disrespectful to other races?" he asked.
Dr Wee said the implementation of Jawi calligraphy module in Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools must be objected, while the sovereignty of the school boards must be upheld.
Dong Jiao Zong is the umbrella body comprising Dong Zong (United Chinese School Committees’ Association) and Jiao Zong (United Chinese School Teachers’ Association).
On Nov 29, Dong Zong handed a memorandum to the Education Ministry, urging it to include school boards as decision-makers on the teaching of Jawi calligraphy module in schools.
The ministry had earlier announced that Jawi calligraphy module would be introduced in the Bahasa Melayu subject for Year Four students starting next year.
The announcement upset various groups, which prompted the ministry to first give teachers in schools the power to decide whether they want to teach the calligraphy to pupils before passing the decision to parents in the latest guidelines.
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