Called for police interview, Dong Zong insists not racist

Jerry Choong
Dong Zong chairman Tan Tai Kim arrives at the Bukit Aman police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur August 22, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 22 — The United Chinese School Committees' Association of Malaysia, better known as Dong Zong, today defended its opinions about education in the country and stridently denied it is a racist group.

Its chairman Tan Tai Kim said the organisation was contacted by federal police yesterday and asked to turn up for an interview at Bukit Aman here today following several reports filed against it.

“We are here to assist the police in whatever capacity we can,” he told the press outside the police headquarters before going in with Dong Zong honorary secretary Ng Chai Heng and lawyers Abraham Au and Ng Guang Fa.

Tan insisted that Dong Zong is ‘not a racist group’.

“We have the same opinion as the other races,” he said, without elaborating.

Dong Zong faced much flak over its opposition to the introduction of khat calligraphy to vernacular primary schools from next year even though the topic has been part of the national curriculum the past two years.

The Chinese education group claimed khat to be unconstitutional and a form of Islamisation.

Its claims drew mixed reactions from the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH).

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad labelled Dong Zong “racist”, but DAP lawmaker Lim Kit Siang disagreed with the prime minister, saying the group’s objections were “misguided”.

However, other PH components, namely the Youth wing of Bersatu, which initiated a petition to ban Dong Zong, which it called extremist and has the potential to undermine national racial unity.

The petition was supported by Perlis Mufti Datuk Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, who reportedly likened Dong Zong to a terror threat.

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has also said that if there is sufficient evidence, Dong Zong could be charged with intentional insult to provoke a breach of the peace under Section 504 of the Penal Code.

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