KUALA LUMPUR: The allegation by DAP political education director Liew Chin Tong that local Chinese newspapers distorted the Jawi calligraphy issue in 2019 is irresponsible, says The Editors' Association (Chinese Medium) Malaysia.
“The Association urges Liew not to irresponsibly put all the blame on Chinese newspapers just because of his own incapability and refusal to assume responsibility for the local Chinese community, ” it said.
It added in a statement reported by Sin Chew Daily on Friday (April 23) that Liew's claim constitutes a blatant act of suppressing press freedom.
The association also said that when the Education Ministry decided to include Jawi in the curriculum of vernacular schools, the original module was “Jawi calligraphy” with six pages in the textbook.
“However, following extensive coverage of this matter in Chinese newspapers and the ensuing public outcry, including strong backlash from local Chinese educational bodies and organisations, the ministry subsequently modified the module, ” said the association.
It said explanations and statements on the issue by Pakatan Harapan ministers were all fairly handled and published by Chinese newspapers.
The association said Chinese newspapers have always acted in the overall interest of the Malaysian Chinese community.
“Chinese newspapers have truthfully reflected the position and views of local Chinese educational bodies and organisations, and have never attempted to fan public sentiment or distort the facts, ” it said.
“They never harboured any hidden agenda on this matter, ” it added.
It also said that during the Barisan Nasional administration, Chinese newspapers would truthfully report any event deemed unfavourable to the development of Chinese language education or the local Chinese community and DAP would exploit this to blast the government of the day.
“Liew should not change his stand just because his party was part of a ruling coalition, constantly attacking Chinese newspapers which have always provided editorial space for politicians to hit out at their opponents, ” said the association.