Upholding Jawi akin to upholding definition of Malays in Constitution, says PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Reviving Jawi and upholding Malay virtues are in line with keeping to the definition of who the Malays are in the Federal Constitution, says Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

As Article 160(2) of the Federal constitution states that "a Malay" is one who is Muslim, speaks Malay and practises the Malay customs and traditions, it is high time the Malays revived Jawi writing which has aesthetic values as well, he added.

“In Article 160 (2), customs and traditions refer to the Malay culture," he said in his speech when launching the book “Budi Asas Tamadun” (Virtue the Basis of Civilisation) and exhibition “Jawi soul of the race, art of cultural milestones” here on Monday (April 12).

"The effort by the organisers is a noble one to champion Malay culture and heritage as an identity and national heritage.

“Jawi writing has been an integral part of education, the sociocultural system and way of life for Malays since Islam came to this region.

“The written education of this region began with Jawi characters, adapted from the Quranic alphabet with some letters added for the ease of the Malay tongue.

“Jawi is also part of the high civilisation of a race which has much aesthetic and humanitarian values.

“As the function and role of Jawi is very important in the nation’s history, it is time we revived the heritage of the race, ” said Muhyiddin.

He also said that the Education Ministry has encouraged Jawi through elective subjects.

“In the context of a plural society which has the interest to involve itself in art forms, culture and heritage, it is fair and just if the government gives similar encouragement, ” he said.

At the same function, Dewan Negara Speaker Tan Sri Rais Yatim, who compiled the book from the contributions of 13 writers, said “budi” (virtue) is not something one learns to pass examinations.

“Virtuousness is something which must be practised. As for Jawi, it does not bite, ” said Rais.

Also present at the launch was Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Seri Azhar Azizan Harun.

The exhibition showcases works in Jawi from calligraphers nationwide.

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