KUALA LUMPUR: A national congress, which includes all races, will be held to de-racialise the issue of Jawi in schools, say organisers of the National Jawi Congress.
The congress will be held on Dec 29 at a hotel in Petaling Jaya and is intended to complement the Dec 28 gathering organised by the Chinese educationist group Dong Jiao Zong.
National Jawi Congress organisers' spokesperson Arun Dorasamy said this congress would feature an academic discussion by speakers of all races, including those from Sabah and Sarawak.
"Jawi is not an issue of one race but a Malaysian issue. We are holding this congress open to the public to exert pressure on the Education Ministry to return to the discussion table and not bulldoze the issue of teaching Jawi at schools. The roundtable will have to include representatives of all races.
"The Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Cabinet ministers do not seem to understand that this is not an issue of how many pages of Jawi should be taught in schools," said Arun.
He said six speakers from all races will speak at the indoor forum, including lawyer Siti Kasim and academic Prof Mohamad Tajuddin Rasdi from UCSI.
Tajuddin said that there is no need to worry about such a forum as it is organised by all races and not just one race like the Malay Dignity Congress.
"Democratically, we have to listen to all voices on this issue. Just because some are not listening, we should not sideline them.
"Academics should not merely label DJZ (Dong Jiao Zong) as anti-national. Threats too should not be made by politicians,"said Tajuddin.
Siti Kasim said there is no need for a permit from the authorities for an indoor program.
Arun, however, said the organisers have notified police of the program as they want to be on the good side of the law.
Businessman Datuk Eddie Heng Hong Chai, who heads the SJK(C) Sentul KL school board and is part of the action group against Jawi in vernacular schools, said that they have nothing against Jawi except for it not being an elective subject.
"Any additional writing or language is welcome in schools, but not as a compulsory subject," said Heng.
The group of organisers - which also has members of Seni Khat Action Team (Sekat) - said that the congress is necessary because politicians have turned and twisted the issue to their own interests.
"It was Khat (Arabic calligraphy) at first, then when we made noise they said it is old Malay Jawi. It is also still compulsory in national schools, although they had said it is an elective in vernacular schools," said the organisers.
In recent months, the teaching of Jawi has become a hotly-debated issue for the Education Ministry as it is seen as a move to introduce Islamisation into the national school curriculum.
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