Chinese group ready to meet Maszlee ahead of weekend congress

(FMT) – Chinese educationist group Dong Jiao Zong says it is prepared to meet Education Minister Maszlee Malik and anyone who is interested to find a solution in the dispute over the introduction of Jawi lessons in primary schools next year.

However, the group did not clearly state whether it will go ahead with a meeting of Chinese groups opposed to learning Jawi this weekend.

“We are ready to discuss and to seek solutions to end the Jawi issue rationally and to instill understanding among different races,” it said in a statement.

Dong Jiao Zong said the Jawi controversy should be settled “in the spirit of tolerance” to ensure harmony in the country.

Earlier, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad warned the group of a backlash from Malay groups if it went ahead with its meeting to protest the introduction of Jawi lessons in vernacular schools.

“You do that kind of thing, and you will get a reaction,” he said on Dec 20, adding that protests from Chinese groups against Jawi lessons have led to efforts to shut down Chinese schools.

Saying it respects Bahasa Melayu as the national language, Dong Jiao said it is also not against Jawi lessons for Year 5 students, but questions its implementation.

It said school committees, including the Parent-Teacher Associations, should be included in the decision-making process.

Dong Jiao also welcomed PKR president Anwar Ibrahim’s remarks calling for greater dialogue on the matter.

Anwar had urged Dong Jiao not to hold its Chinese Organisation Congress, which seeks to convince the government to cancel Jawi lessons in vernacular schools.