Mahathir said – “I still remembered the time when we were about to achieve independence. The non-Malays at the time found it difficult to learn Jawi so we made the decision to use the Roman script to make it easier for non-Malays. Malays still need to learn Jawi because they need to read the Quran. Why do we need to fight? We have given special consideration to the interest of non-Malays.”
Oops! Did the 94-year-old prime minister accidentally confessed that there’s some truth to the suspicions that the Khat Jawi lessons initially forced on vernacular Chinese and Tamil schools could be the first step towards “Islamisation” of the non-Muslim students? Otherwise, why did Mahathir say the Malays still need to learn Jawi because they need to read the Quran?
And since the art of Khat is a form of calligraphy based on Jawi, which in turn is Arabic script, does not that make the students expose to the prospect of learning Quran, hence the “Islamisation”? How would the Malay-Muslims feel if the 3,500-year-old classical language of Sanskrit is being made compulsory – or merely optional – to all national schools?
It’s absolutely flabbergasting why the majority Malay-Muslims wanted to force the minority Chinese and Indians to learn their holy ancient Jawi scripting. For ages, the Malay-Muslims have been claiming that Islam is more superior to other religions. In fact, they said all the infidel “kafir” non-Muslims are going to hell and only Muslims will go to afterlife paradise.
So, while 72 virgins are waiting anxiously for the arrival of Malay-Muslims at the heaven’s airport, the non-Muslim Chinese and Indians will be left screwing spiders. That’s fine. After all, the non-believers are too tainted to be admitted to the so-called paradise. They gamble, eat pork, drink alcohol and offer bribes. That’s the general perception of holy Malay-Muslims towards kafir ethnics Chinese and Indians.
Hadi Awang, the holiest Muslim and the president of the PAS Islamist party had once warned that non-Malay-Muslims must not touch on matters regarding Islam and Malay Rulers. So, why bother forces the Chinese and Indians to learn Khat Jawi calligraphy, of which the language is essential to read the Quran, and potentially insults and stains the holy language of Islam?
While it’s true that Jawi was the Arabic script for writing Malay language before they were Romanised up to the 1960s, it had never been part of Malay culture. In fact, it was then-Education Minister Khir Johari who abolished Jawi script from compulsory teaching in schools in 1966. Currently, the usage of Jawi script is mainly for “Islamic purposes” such as in mosques and Islamic schools.
Hence, it was not entirely true when Mahathir claimed that the government had in the past decided to convert Bahasa Malaysia, which was originally in Jawi, to the Roman script as it had been thoughtful of the needs of the non-Malay community. The Jawi was dying a natural death hence its abolishment. Why didn’t he bring back the Jawi when he was the education minister from 1974 to 1977?
Get real, Mahathir’s fierce defence of the Khat Jawi has nothing to do with his love for the Arabic scripting. As usual, it’s just one of his political toys to win over the support of the ethnic Malay whom majority is currently sitting on the other side of the camp. It’s also a political tool to break the strong support presently enjoyed by governing Chinese-majority DAP (Democratic Action Party).
Mahathir’s party, PPBM Bersatu, won only 13 seats out of the 222 Parliamentary seats in the May 2019 general election. Even though the party managed to double to 26 seats through defections of opposition UMNO MPs, most of whom were the premier’s old colleagues, the party is still small compared to DAP’s 42 MPs and PM-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim’s party PKR, which has 50 seats.
A master strategist, PM Mahathir has already split PKR into two factions using the British game of “divide and rule” – with Anwar’s camp reduced to 35 MPs while his scandal-plagued deputy Azmin Ali controls the remaining 15 MPs. The Khat Jawi fiasco was bulldozed by Mahathir’s half-past-six Education Minister Maszlee Malik with the evil intention of weakening DAP’s grip of 95% of the Chinese vote bank.
DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang thought he could persuade the ethnic Chinese to obediently accept the Arabic calligraphy. The silly old man thought his “Malaysian Malaysia” could sell like hotcakes. He lectured that learning the Jawi will not make a Chinese any less Chinese like him, only to see one angry Chinese pelted a DAP office with eggs – accusing the party of betraying the community.
Mr. Lim was also jeered and heckled during a “Hungry Ghost” event in his own constituency, something unimaginable in the past where the 78-year-old veteran was highly respected by the Chinese community. In fact, grassroots leaders of DAP have been bombarded with truckloads of criticism that Lim predicted his party could lose up to 40% of its votes if a general election is called now.
Mahathir, known as the dictator who ruled with iron-fist during his first stint as prime minister for 22 years from 1981 to 2003, knows how to play the emotionsof the different ethnicities in Malaysia. Now that he became the prime minister again, his old tricks are being used again to strengthen his position – by weakening his allies DAP and PKR in the Pakatan Harapan coalition government.