Mahathir’s Assimilation Platitude Denounced—Beware of Misleading Narrow-mindedness

Joint Statement Released by Dong Zong and Jiao Zong

December 13, 2021

Mahathir’s Assimilation Platitude Denounced—Beware of Misleading Narrow-mindedness

In former Prime Minister Mahathir’s recent book, language assimilation policy was advocated explicitly and Dong Zong was yet again pinpointed for compromising national unity. To our greatest regret, Mahathir’s allegation was paradoxical and unfounded. Dong Jiao Zong, with these means, denounces and urges all races in the country not to be misled by this narrow-minded mentality.

The current advocation of Mahathir is one of political spin which repetitively attributes multi-stream education system for the damage of national harmony and unity. Platitude of this sort is but a hasty generalisation; more precisely, a logical fallacy which cannot be justified by objective or sufficient evidence and can only be termed as stereotyped narrow-mindedness. Up till now, there has been no extant research finding evidencing the national unity awareness of national primary school students precedes that of vernacular Chinese primary schools. What is more, research findings accessible across the globe also indicate that racism is rooted on factors like institutional policy deviation and inadequate social resource distribution among others and it is not correlated with multi-stream education system.

In Mahathir’s book, assimilation policy practiced by Indonesia and Thailand at early years was cited to justify his understanding of assimilation. Regrettably, he is not informed both countries had renavigated its course amenable to human rights and abandoned assimilation policy in 2000 resulted in the public learning of Chinese and the establishment of Chinese schools on their soil. In reality, the Malay Muslims in southern Thailand were prohibited from learning Bahasa Melayu similarly many years back. Evidently, the assimilation policy practiced by Thailand not only fails to unite ethnic Malay residing in southern Thailand, but also generates cultural oppression on Malay Muslims in southern Thailand. Social unrests occurred after stronger protests took place locally.

Being a civilian organisation, Dong Jiao Zong strongly believes that mother tongue education is the fundamental human right and the most effective educational approach. Inherently, Dong Jiao Zong has been safeguarding its mother tongue education and respecting the mother tongue education right of other ethnic groups while upholding the vision of cultural co-existence. Sincerely, we persist to fight for the reasonable right of mother tongue education while esteeming Bahasa Melayu as the national language. In the face of national implementations, we responded within the scope of Constitution: the reliance on universal human rights value, the safeguard of mother tongue education and the upholding of multi-cultural inherence.

Blessingly, selfless people from all ethnic groups reach out for help spontaneously amidst the thread of prevalent COVID-19 and survival issues of the nation. While these imminent issues are yet to be tackled, splenetic politicians are hyping racist narratives for their own interests. Notwithstanding labelling it ‘New Malaysia’, the topical content of Mahathir’s new book sees the future of the country in a rather small-minded perspective. Time shifts and there is no gainsaying that the nation’s wisdom has been initiated; we are convinced, our nation will be wise enough not to be misled and fooled easily.