Chin Tong’s book: Media, not DAP, twisted Jawi issue into a controversy

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The Chinese media turned the teaching of Jawi in schools in 2019 into a controversy even though DAP was supportive of the learning of Jawi, says DAP’s Liew Chin Tong.

Lee Wayloon/Malaysiakini

In his latest book titled “Lim Kit Siang – Patriot, Leader and Fighter”, a biography of the DAP leader, Liew said that Lim had supported the learning of Jawi but “the highly racialised political situation that we faced daily had made some of us forget about history – even among DAP leaders and members”.

Liew said that the issue of Jawi teaching in schools “was then twisted by Chinese dailies as a way to Islamise the Chinese”.

“In July 2019, out of the blue a major Chinese daily front-paged a story of teachers being trained to teach six pages of Jawi script for Primary Four vernacular school pupils beginning 2020.

“For days, it was the only issue the Chinese dailies discussed. Jawi script was presented by the media as if it was a language.

“There were attempts to counter-argue that it was just an introduction for pupils to learn and appreciate the artistic values of Jawi calligraphy, which was then twisted by the Chinese dailies as a way to Islamise the Chinese.

“It was as if the raw nerve of Chinese anxieties was being attacked. Kit (Lim) was brave enough to face the onslaught.

‘Learning Jawi’, he said, ‘did not make me any less of a Chinese and may have helped in making me more of a Malaysia’,” wrote Liew in his book.

He went on to state that “our explanations and pleas fell on deaf ears.

“I was attacked online while Kit was even booed at a dinner in his own constituency during the height of the issue,” wrote Liew.

This revelation contradicts the happenings reported by the media on the Jawi controversy during Pakatan Harapan’s rule.

DAP’s secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who was then the Finance Minister, had questioned the police in Dec 2019 for stopping the Chinese Organisations Joint Conference on Jawi organised by Dong Jiao Zong.

The conference, then scheduled at the New Era College in Kajang, had to be cancelled after a court order decided that the event could affect public peace.

Lim Kit Siang – Patriot, Leader and Fighter, which is published by Research for Social Advancement, is a 290-page book and was released this month. – The Star


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