Kit Siang says Pakatan unaware of new jawi policy until issue blew up

Jerry Choong
Lim said that Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders only came to know of it for the first time, when controversy erupted over the teaching of jawi in vernacular schools last month. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 — DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang has shifted the blame on the policy decision to teach vernacular school students jawi to ministers under the previous Barisan Nasional government.

He further said that Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders only came to know of it for the first time, when controversy erupted over the teaching of jawi in vernacular schools last month.

“What, however, is incontrovertible is that the policy decision on jawi in Standard Four, Five, and Six for Chinese and Tamil primary school Bahasa Malaysia textbooks was decided at a meeting of the Jawatankuasa Perancang Pendidikan (Education Planning Committee) on September 21, 2015, which was chaired by then-education minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid and attended by the two deputy education ministers Datuk Chong Sin Woon and Datuk P. Kamalanathan,” Lim said in his speech during a briefing for DAP Federal Territory/Selangor branch leaders at the party headquarters in Pudu yesterday.

He said once the policy decision was made, it became an administrative matter to be implemented by the Education Ministry officials.

“As I admitted in Melaka two days ago, I only learnt about the origins of the jawi subject controversy after my return from a week-long visit to India.

“There were conspiracy theories that the jawi controversy was invented either by the Education Minister Mazlee Malek or Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed to serve their political purposes,” Lim said.

Reiterating what he had previously mentioned in Skudai, Johor, over the weekend, Lim said had the BN government remained in power after the 14th general election, it is likely the decision made on September 2015 would probably have resulted in ‘Three Wants’ in the new textbooks for Chinese/Tamil Standard Four, Five, and Six primary school pupils — “Want to be compulsory, Want to have examination and Want students to learn and read jawi”.

“The Cabinet has decided the “‘Three Wants’  become ‘Three Nos’ — No Compulsion, No Examination and No learning/writing of jawi but only an introduction.

“There is no doubt that DAP and Pakatan Harapan are facing a crisis which can break the first-ever and probably the only experiment at political change in a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation,” he said.

To this, he urged the leaders to do their utmost in ensuring the PH government can succeed in the arduous challenge to build a New Malaysia for future generations; for should it fail to do so, Lim added, he does not see a second chance, and things can only get from bad to worse.

“Malaysia will fail as a New Malaysia which is a top world-class nation of unity, freedom, justice, excellence and integrity if we replace a ‘win-win’ formula of nation-building with a zero-sum mentality.

“We owe it to ourselves, our children, our children’s children, and most of all, our nation to do our utmost to make the Pakatan Harapan Government and New Malaysia objective work and succeed,” he said.

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