Joint Statement Released by Dong Zong and Jiao Zong

Joint Statement Released by Dong Zong and Jiao Zong

November 5, 2021

Informed by the Senior Minister of the Malaysia Education Ministry Mohd Radzi Md Jidin’s written reply in the parliament, from 2022 onwards, Jawi scripts will be introduced in Grade Six of vernacular Chinese and Tamil primary schools nationwide in accordance with the decision made on 14 August 2019 in the cabinet. Dong Zong and Jiao Zong deeply regret to learn of this announcement as it neglects the voices from the Chinese and Indian communities, which is, to set the controversial implementation aside for a more matchable measure to fit in the multiplicity inherence of the society. Herewith Dong Zong and Jiao Zong specially release their joint statement proper as follows:

1. Last July, the Senior Minister of the Malaysia Education Ministry Mohd Radzi Md Jidin had promised to review the existing Jawi scripts implementation in vernacular Chinese and Tamil primary schools meticulously. Moreover, the Chinese and Indian communities had for several times proposed to put this tendentious educational implementation aside for the moment in a bid to formulate an algorithm which matches with the multiplicity inherence of the country by putting all heads together for in-depth discussions. Unfortunately, no follow-up was updated but arbitrary implementation of Jawi scripts learning in both primary Grade Four and Five Bahasa Melayu subject, ignoring the proposal submitted by the Chinese and Indian communities. Additionally, from next year onwards as instructed, this implementation will be further extended to Grade Six. Dong Jiao Zong is greatly perturbed and feels resentful by such approach.

2. The Ministry of Education has commenced to put the introduction of Jawi scripts in Garde Four Bahasa Melayu subject in vernacular Chinese and Tamil primary schools since last year. It revealed from the questionnaire survey conducted by the Ministry of Education that 70 percent out of 1,297 vernacular Chinese primary schools and 0.38 percent out of 524 Tamil primary schools opted to accept the Jawi scripts implementation model. This year, the MOE similarly administered questionnaire survey to Grade Four parents of the said schools enquiring whether they were willing to accept the Jawi scripts implementation. Though the survey result has hitherto not disclosed by the MOE, according to the survey conducted by Dong Jiao Zong separately, 98 percent of the vernacular Chinese primary schools nationwide objected to this implementation. The data saliently suggest, the pedagogical approach and implementation model of the Jawi scripts were not widely recognised. As such, we urge the MOE to put this implementation aside for a comprehensive review, but not to repeatedly put it into practice, causing doubts and discontentment.

3. Malaysia is a multiracial, multireligious, multilingual and multicultural nation. Dong Jiao Zong has since been observing the multiplicity coexistence spirit by encouraging mutual learning and understanding of diverse calligraphic art and culture. Therefore, we have never at any point in time opposed to the introduction of language and writing of any other ethnic groups, inclusive of the Jawi scripts. If truth be told, ever since the introduction of the Jawi scripts learning in Grade Four of vernacular Chinese and Indian primary schools, Dong Jiao Zong, together with other Chinese and Indian organisations alike have been trying to resolve the dispute from the educational aspect; and they have for many times proposed to practise the implementation in a multiple approach by referring to Grade Five Bahasa Melayu textbook—with introduction of the calligraphy of other ethnic groups—used from 2015 to 2020. To our regret, the proposal was not adapted and thus leaving the Gordian knot unaddressed.

4. Dong Jiao Zong repeatedly urges the MOE to listen to voices from the general public, nipping the dispute in the bud by putting the implementation aside. In this sense, the MOE is proposed to introduce the Jawi scripts by incorporating multicultural elements into the learning contents, that is, to include writing scripts of other ethnic groups side by side with the introduction of Jawi scripts. This way, we believe, students will get to know the calligraphic characteristics and beauty of other ethnic groups which not only corresponds with our pluralistic inherence but also helps in multicultural interactions and understanding.