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Defending Chinese education is not racism

  • It is not wrong, less so racist, to defend Chinese education. We must revert to rationality and handle this and other issues sensibly. Name-calling and unjustified accusations will not take us anywhere.

Sin Chew Daily

The Khat controversy is picking up steam, with Dong Zong initiating a signature collecting campaign to protest the teaching of Jawi calligraphy at SRJKs in the country.

Unhappy with such a move, PM Mahathir has called the Chinese education body a racist organization, which is a very serious accusation.

As the country's prime minister with such a powerful clout over the general population, it is highly unbecoming for Tun Mahathir to attach such a negative label to a very important Chinese education body.

The PM's allegation will not help abate the tension arising from the teaching of Seni Khat at vernacular schools, but has instead exacerbated the controversy.

Perlis mufti Asri Zainul Abidin subsequently posted on his Facebook to echo the PM's accusation, arguing that Dong Zong is radical subversive body that poses the same level of menace to the country as the terrorists.

As if that is not enough, some Malay rights groups have started online campaigns to demand that Dong Zong be listed as an illegal organization.

It is highly inappropriate to label the opponents to Jawi teaching as racists, and this reaction will only serve to further obscure the center of the issue.

Lest we forget, Dong Zong and the local Chinese community are not the only ones against the new education policy, other ethnic communities in the country are equally unhappy with it.

This kind of wicked political tactic should not have existed in New Malaysia. Any disagreement can be settled rationally and amicably through sincere communication with the ultimate purpose of striking a consensus and common understanding.

Mahathir must understand that defending Chinese education in the country cannot constitute racism.

For the past so many decades, Dong Zong has been playing a pioneering role in safeguarding Chinese education and has made remarkable contributions towards the Malaysian Chinese community as well as vernacular education system. In no way should this effort be seen as racist.

It is based on the very principle that Dong Zong has disagreed to the teaching of Jawi calligraphy at Chinese primary schools and the implementation of the Vision School program. Such a position is consistent with that of the local Chinese community in general.

As a matter of fact, the Chinese community is on the same side as Dong Zong in rejecting Seni Khat at SJKCs.

Instead of attacking Dong Zong, perhaps the prime minister should ponder why it has come up with such a reaction, and strive to step up communication with the organization over the issue.

As the elected government, the Pakatan Harapan administration should listen to the views of the people and not to ignore the voice of the local Chinese community and push ahead a highly unpopular policy.

Malaysia is a multicultural country. By right the government and politicians should look at various issues from the people's point of view and not wrongfully brand the dissidents as racists. More so they must lead by example and take the country out of the quagmire of race politics and think beyond the confines of race.

We have to stress that it is not wrong, less so racist, to defend Chinese education. We must revert to rationality and handle this and other issues sensibly. Name-calling and unjustified accusations will not take us anywhere.

 

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