Don’t play race card like Dong Zong, minister Rina urges public

Ida Nadirah Ibrahim
Datuk Seri Rina Harun delivers her speech during the launch of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Srikandi's Jalur Gemilang Campaign in Petaling Jaya August 14, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

PETALING JAYA, Aug 14 — Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) women’s wing chief Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun has urged the public to stop playing the race card on the issue of Malay-Arabic calligraphy khat.

She said the public should not follow in the footsteps of Chinese educationist group Dong Zong, whom she accused of harping on the ethnic Chinese when it comes to education, rather than public interest.

“There is no need to make a big deal out of the issue as the decision has been made in the Cabinet.

“I have never met Dong Zong before; whatever I know is based on what I read in the news. But they should not be talking about education based on race but for the nation as a whole,” she told reporters when met after launching her wing's Jalur Gemilang campaign at Amcorp Mall here.

Rina, who is also the Rural Development minister, said in conjunction with the National Month, the public should focus on what is good for the nation and not raise ethnic sentiments.

“We have a strong unity between the races... We don’t want any further misunderstanding on the issue and the public should preserve this unity,” she said.

A petition calling for the government to ban Dong Zong as a “racist” organisation was started by Islamist movement Gerakan Pengundi Sedar (GPS), which has garnered over 137,000 signatures as of 6pm today.

Rina’s own party’s Youth wing had also launched an online petition urging the government to ban Dong Zong, and has received over 57,000 signatures.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had also doubled down on his criticism of Dong Zong being “racist”, arguing that its focus has always been singular, to fight only for Chinese education.

However, when asked if Dong Zong ought to be banned, the prime minister said he does not know as that was up to the police to decide.

In response, DAP said it believes that Dr Mahathir has no intention of ever banning group Dong Zong, amid calls for such a move from conservative Malay-Muslims.

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