The DAP national leadership had a frank and open discussion with all our elected representatives on Monday 5 August 2019 on the Education Ministry’s decision to introduce seni khat or Jawi to the Standard 4 Bahasa Malaysia textbook for Chinese and Tamil primary schools, without prior consultation with the stakeholders. This was conveyed to the Cabinet meeting yesterday.
The unhappiness of the non-Malay community and educationists in Chinese and Tamil primary schools, stemmed from what is seen by them as an unilateral decision taken by the Education Ministry, without any prior consultation with the stakeholders. Sabah and Sarawak have also expressed similar dissatisfaction.
This has led to general suspicion and a trust deficit from the stakeholders in Chinese and Tamil primary schools, that there is a hidden agenda by the Education Ministry.
The Education Minister has denied this and said that this new syllabus introducing seni khat or Jawi for Standard 4, was formulated and decided by the previous government. The Education Minister had announced the decision of Cabinet, that the introduction of the Jawi or seni khat illustrations in the Standard 4 Bahasa Malaysia textbooks would not be tested in exams and be made optional.
This decision by Cabinet yesterday that the introduction of seni khat or Jawi illustrations will be made optional, will not please everyone including those from the non-Malay community, who request that the implementation of introducing seni khat or Jawi illustrations be deferred pending consultation with all the stakeholders in Chinese and Tamil primary schools. However, Cabinet decision yesterday that it is not compulsory but optional and not to be tested in exams, would hopefully allow Malaysians to move forward.
Malaysians from all walks of life, should engage more with each other to understand the concerns that divide us and aspirations that unite us. Let us work together with full respect for diversity and appreciation for each other’s differences that makes us stronger and more successful.