UMNO and PAS Youth have no problems giving stakeholders more say over the introduction of Jawi lessons in Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools, saying it makes sense as they have vested interests.
Umno Youth exco Bastien Onn told The Malaysian Insight Putrajaya should not force the teaching of Jawi in Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools, and should have instead negotiated with stakeholders before pushing it through.
“The government should listen because it involves the implementation of Jawi lessons (in their schools) and it should also provide an explanation.”
He also agreed with MCA Youth chief Nicole Wong, who – in her speech at MCA’s 66th annual general meeting in Kuala Lumpur today – said Jawi modules should not be forcefully included in the Bahasa Malaysia textbook and should instead be elective.
She also urged the management of all schools to be included in the decision-making process on whether Jawi should be introduced in Chinese vernacular schools next year.
“Nicole has a point in that the government should bring the matter to the negotiating table with stakeholders and Chinese school managers,” he said.
Bastien also agreed that Jawi should be made an alternative subject and expanded alongside Chinese calligraphic art in national schools.
“We welcome the teaching of Chinese calligraphy as an elective in national schools, so that other races can master it, too,” he added.
Meanwhile, PAS Youth chief Khairil Nizam Khirudin told The Malaysian Insight the government should resolve the matter with stakeholders before pushing forward, or give vernacular school pupils the choice of taking up the lessons.
“Sensitive issues such as this can only be resolved if we go back to the constitution,” he said.
Khairil also said other languages ought to be taught in national schools.
“We are also calling for Chinese and Tamil to be taught as additional, alternative or elective subjects to pupils in national schools,” he added.
“PAS Youth will initiate efforts to introduce Chinese and Tamil at selected integrated Islamic primary schools under the PAS Youth Council,” he said.
Last August, the Education Ministry had said it would go ahead and introduce Jawi in Chinese vernacular schools, provided the move is agreed upon by parent-teachers association, parents and pupils.
Zahid promises MCA-linked college funding if BN returns to power
THE general election is still three and a half years away but that did not stop Barisan Nasional chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi from promising that he will reinstate Tunku Abdul Rahman University College’s (TARUC) financial grant if BN returns to power.
The grant to the MCA-linked college, reportedly between RM30 million and RM60 million a year, was cut after the Pakatan Harapan government came to power last year.
It was done to force MCA to relinquish control over the institution.
When opening the 66th MCA annual general assembly at Wisma MCA today, the former deputy prime minister said if more Chinese voters support the opposition coalition, the higher the chances will be that the grants will be reinstated.
“The more Chinese voters swing back to the opposition coalition, the more allocation will be given to TARUC,” Zahid said.
“This is my promise. The promise is we will give allocation to TARUC and Tunku Abdul Rahman University (UTAR), as given by the previous government, when we take over as the (new) government.
“The promise will be fulfilled,” he said.
“If Chinese voters give more support, the allocation will be further increased,” he added.
In the meantime, Zahid said Umno and BN would back their coalition partner’s ongoing fight for a reinstatement of the allocations.
He said this was because matters concerning education shouldn’t be hampered by politics, race or religion.
Budget 2020 had allocated the college only a mere RM1 million, down from RM5.5 million this year.
No matching grant was given.
On November 22, the government agreed to channel RM30 million to TARUC through a trust fund managed by its alumni.
DAP and, in particular, its secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, had blamed the cut in financial assistance to the college as one of the reasons for the swing in Chinese votes back to BN and Pakatan Harapan’s heavy defeat in the Tg Piai by-election.
The by-election was won by Wee Jeck Seng of MCA by a massive 15,086 votes.