Dong Zong Objects to Additional Jawi Calligraphy in Vernacular Schools Bahasa Melayu Subject

Joint Statement Released by Dong Zong and Jiao Zong

July 29, 2019

Dong Zong Objects to Additional Jawi Calligraphy in Vernacular Schools Bahasa Melayu Subject


Dong Jiao Zong is firmly against the Seni Khat (Jawi Scripts Learning) unit to be included in the national-type primary school Bahasa Melayu curriculum. Meanwhile, Dong Jiao Zong will stage a joint meeting with other Chinese associations and Tamil educational organisations. The meeting is intended to collect viable comments and subsequently forward recommendation to the MOE hoping the Ministry will attend to public views and abandon the mentioned unit eventually. Dong Jiao Zong is not against the learning of calligraphy of any ethnic group just that the curricular inclusion of Jawi scripts learning in the Bahasa Melayu subject is thought to be inappropriate. As scheduled by the Ministry, the Seni Khat unit will be included and taught to Grade 4 to 6 students in national-type Chinese and Tamil primary schools.


It was informed that the Jawi script learning unit is merely part of the fun language learning, which is claimed to help students appreciate Malay calligraphy and not the teaching of Jawi scripts. Yet it is expected that learners can recognise, distinguish and read the taught Jawi scripts and pronounce them precisely and write subsequently according to the Grade Four curriculum standard of vernacular schools. Further to this, the briefing made by the Ministry of Education officials likewise pointed out that students would learn Jawi scripts through the five proverbs provided. Dong Jiao Zong is convinced, this learning model has in practice incorporated Jawi scripts learning, and not merely calligraphy appreciation.


Dong Jiao Zong understands that Bahasa Melayu was written in Jawi scripts in the past and later replaced by Roman (RUMI) writing. The syntaxes of the two forms of writing are totally different. For any non-Muslim student, Jawi scripts are totally unfamiliar scripts and inevitably extra efforts will be needed to excel. As a matter of fact, Jawi scripts learning and Bahasa Melayu learning have no direct correlation; the learning of Jawi scripts will not in any way help in the learning of Bahasa Melayu.


Malaysia is a multiracial, multicultural and multi-religious country. We are delighted to see that all ethnic groups get to know one another’s culture, including their calligraphy but we cannot compromise with pushed learning. If Jawi calligraphy were to be included in Bahasa Melayu subject for all vernacular primary schools, Dong Jiao Zong would think it wise to restricted on the appreciation of its calligraphy merely. At the meantime, if the intent is to promote the ability to appreciate its calligraphy, then efforts should also be put in the incorporation of calligraphies of other ethnic groups to be taught in the Art subject. Other than this, its learning can also be encouraged by virtue of co-curricular activities.


We second and support cross-ethnic cultural exchange in schools, but are firmly against unnecessary inclusion of curricular units and contents that entails extra efforts for both teachers and students. The good intention of promoting cross-ethnic cultural interaction should be looked forward to in light of the incorporation of multicultural values embedded in the curriculum and activities of other stream schools and this act is believed to be the practical way to show understanding and care in national harmony.