KUALA LUMPUR: Plans to organise a rally against the teaching of Jawi in vernacular schools should be called off.
PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said controversy involving the issue would only lead to political and religious sentiments spiking in the country’s multiracial society.
Chinese education group Dong Jiao Zong, representing the United Chinese Schools Teachers’ Association (Jiao Zong) and the United Chinese School Committees’ Association (Dong Zong), have in recent days called on Chinese groups to register their interest in attending a rally against the introduction of Jawi in vernacular schools.
The rally was expected to be held at New Era College in Kajang on Saturday.
“I urge all quarters including Dong Zong to return to dialogue sessions,” said Anwar.
He said the organisation of an anti-Jawi rally would be countered by a pro-Jawi gathering.
“It should be remembered that the Jawi writing is part of the nation’s cultural treasures.
“The Malay language, which is now the national language, is written in the Arabic script which has been changed to the Jawi script,” said the Port Dickson member of parliament.
“Malaysia is a country with various races and cultures.
“We should be proud of that and respect our differences,” he added.
In July, the government had announced plans to introduce three pages of Jawi lessons in the Bahasa Malaysia syllabus for Year 4 students, including those in vernacular schools.
On Saturday, commenting on the plans of Dong Jiao Zong to hold the anti-Jawi rally, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said every race in the country should be considerate of the feelings of other races.
He said it could stir the emotions and lead to reactions from other groups.
“That will only result in Malays having their congress and talking about closing down Chinese schools and all that.
“You do that kind of thing, you will get reaction.
“We are a multiracial country.
“It is important for us to be considerate about other people’s feelings,” he said.