Jiao Zong reaches out to dispel ‘racist’ label


Compiled by C. ARUNO, JO TIMBUONG and R. ARAVINTHAN

Educationist group United Chinese School Teachers’ Association (Jiao Zong) recently set up an inter-ethnic outreach committee to foster better interracial cooperation and to stop others from calling it a “racist” organisation, reported Sin Chew Daily.

Jiao Zong president Cheah Lek Aee said the group needed to be more proactive in reaching out to the non-Chinese community to let them better understand its history and role in society.

In an exclusive interview, he told the daily that it was making plans to engage with Malay organisations and hold talks on how to cooperate on matters related to education.

Cheah, who was given the baton of leadership following the retirement of long-time president Datuk Ong Chiow Chuen last year, said he wanted to chart a new course for Jiao Zong by expunging the “racist” label associated with the group.

To achieve this, work related to the inter-ethnic outreach committee would be a priority, he added.

He argued that those who called Jiao Zong “racist” had misconstrued the group’s mission to preserve Chinese education as being motivated by racism.

“Some of our more open-minded (non-Chinese) friends do not think of us in such a way. They understand our mission is to preserve Chinese education, ” he said.

Cheah added that he was saddened by the repeated attacks from Malay organisations following the group’s opposition to how Jawi calligraphy is taught in primary schools, which have unfortunately caused it to be mislabelled as a “racist” group.

He said they were unable to carry the message across that Jiao Zong was not at all against Jawi calligraphy, only how it was being taught.

“As such, we have to engage with non-Chinese groups to dispel the biases against us, ” he added.

It was earlier reported that both Jiao Zong and Dong Zong (United Chinese School Committees’ Association) were against how Jawi calligraphy was to be taught in Year Four Bahasa Melayu textbooks when it was first announced in 2019.

In December 2020, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon proposed the introduction of a multilingual resource manual which included the native languages of Peninsular Malaysia as well as Sabah and Sarawak among primary school pupils, rather than Jawi calligraphy alone.

> A gang of durian thieves has finally been taken down by Segamat police, Sin Chew Daily also reported.

Segamat OCPD Supt Raub Selamat said they had been receiving reports from orchard owners that their precious Musang King durians kept going missing.

On March 31, police arrested five suspects, all jobless and aged between 24 and 50, to aid in the investigation.

The above articles are compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with a >, it denotes a separate news item.

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