Dec 28 gathering not a protest but indoor event to discuss Jawi issue, clarifies Dong Zong

PETALING JAYA: The Dec 28 gathering organised by educationist group Dong Jiao Zong is not a protest, clarifies Dong Zong Central Committee member Low Chee Chong (pic).

He pointed out that it is an indoor event to discuss the implementation of Jawi script lessons in vernacular schools.

Low was quoted by Malaysiakini that the meeting is only opened to representatives of Chinese NGOs, and not members of the public.

"This is a meeting that will discuss education topics and the Jawi script issue. The meeting (is called) to express the stance (of Chinese NGOs), and it is not a racial gathering," he was quoted saying by the news portal.

Low emphasised that the congress would only be held inside New Era University College building, and there was no plan for the participants of the meeting to go outside for a rally.

He also noted that some 80 NGOs have agreed to attend the event.

Dong Jiao Zong came under fire after it had announced its plan to hold the Chinese Organisations Congress on Dec 28.

To this, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said the planned gathering by Chinese associations over the Jawi calligraphy module issue would further divide the country.

He was reported saying that the Malays would have their own gathering and talk about closing Chinese schools.

PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim also urged the parties to cancel the congress and return to dialogues instead.

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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