Call for launching of a “I am, you are, we are Malaysian” campaign or movement on the occasion of the 62nd National Day/56th Malaysia Day celebrations

It is indeed shocking that after four weeks of controversy over Jawi in Chinese and Primary schools, 95% of Chinese and Indian Malaysians are not aware that there is Jawi in Std. V Bahasa Malaysia textbook for years and that the revised curriculum to introduce Jawi in Std. IV was decided by MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP and UMNO Ministers in Sept. 2015.

Now, MCA, Gerakan, MIC and SUPP leaders are loudest in condemning the introduction of Jawi in Chinese and Tamil primary schools, although this decision was taken by their Ministers four years ago in 2015, to be implemented yearly in the revised textbooks from 2017 – 2022.

The Jawi subject controversy was a legacy of the former government, as the final decision on the new textbooks for Chinese/Tamil primary schools to introduce the Jawi subject for Std. 4 pupils in 2020 was made by Education Ministry Curriculum Committee chaired by the then Education Minister, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid and attended by the then two Deputy Education Ministers, Datuk Chong Sin Woon (MCA) and P. Kamalanathan (MIC) in a meeting of Sept. 21, 2015.

After that it became an administrative matter for the relevant Education Ministry divisions to implement the policy decision of Sept. 2015.

If there had been no change of government in the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018, the implementation of the Education Ministry decision on new curriculum in Sept. 2015 would probably result in “Three Wants” in the new textbooks for Chinese/Tamil Std. 4 primary school pupils – Want to be compulsory, Want to have examination and Want students to learn to read and write Jawi.

Now, the “Three Wants” had become “Three Nos” — No Compulsion, No Examination and No learning/writing of Jawi but only introduction.

These are the facts and it is important that background information of the Jawi controversy be understood by all Malaysians.

The latest Cabinet formula for the resolution of the Jawi controversy has elicited contradictory reactions.

It been described by MCA, Gerakan and SUPP elements as proof that the DAP Ministers have sold out the rights and interests of the Chinese and Indians.

But what is UMNO saying?

One UMNO leader said that the Cabinet decision shows that DAP is the “true power in the Pakatan Harapan government” while another leader describes it as “victory” of Dong Jiao Zong.

Which is which? Or neither is right?

The Jawi controversy is a lesson to all Malaysians that we should be informed of the background facts of a problem and to take a Malaysian approach to all problems.

I want to reiterate my call to Malaysians that on the occasion of the 62nd National Day/53rd Malaysia Day celebrations from August 31 to Sept. 16, 2019 to rise above the fissisparous and centrifugal forces threatening to tear Malaysia apart and reunite to build a New Malaysia which is a top world-class nation of unity, freedom, justice, excellence and integrity.

Let us come out of our separate ethnic and religious shells, interact and appreciate the virtues and best values of each other’s ethnicity and leverage on Malaysia’s special position as the confluence of four great world civilisations and not to fall victim to those who only want to engender and incite suspicion, distrust, fear and hatred, pitting race against race and religion against religion, through lies, falsehoods, fake news and hate speech.

Let us develop the confidence of “I am, you are, we are Malaysian” theme to take on the world, and not to fight among ourselves, so that Malaysia can become a top world-class nation of unity, freedom, justice, excellence and integrity.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri