Wednesday, June 7

Tiong slams Education Ministry’s intent to introduce Khat or Jawi calligraphy art, calls for ‘substantial educational reform’


Tiong King Sing

KUCHING: Bintulu MP Dato Sri Tiong King Sing urges Pakatan Harapan leaders to carefully examine the weaknesses in the current education system and implement substantial educational reform.

He pointed out that the Ministry of Education’s implementation plans should be subjected to a series of reviews and assessments to determine that they are suitable to the long term development of the country.

“There are too many stakeholders for our education and children development to be politicised and carried without consensus.

“The children and their parents deserve piece of mind from well thought out and transparent education policies and programmes,” he said in a press statement.

Taking Education deputy minister Teoh Nie Ching’s intention to introduce Khat or Jawi calligraphy art in all national vernacular (SJKC and SJKT) as an example, Tiong said the move “totally flies in the face of consensus with the stakeholders, namely the Chinese communities she pretends to represent” and that she “clearly has not heard nor appreciated the dissatisfaction from the communities affected”.

Tiong is puzzled as to how the PH can be so inconsistent and contradictory in its statements and promises to the people.

“Instead of recognising the Unified Chinese Examination the PH has promised for years, we now have the ‘pleasure’ of being treated to this show of introducing Jawi writings to our schools’ syllabus.

“Millions had hoped that the coalition will finally recognise the UEC, but instead they extended the deadline in July again. How long should the people wait?” he lamented.

“Why not introduce the culture and art of all Malaysian ethnic groups as projects as electives so that the students can choose according to their interests.

“Doing so would actually not only promote awareness of our diverse local cultural heritage but also help cultural exchanges as well, leading to racial harmony from a young age. Why only introduce Jawi calligraphy? Why not include Chinese or Tamil calligraphy in the syllabus as well?” he questioned.

Tiong added that he is not hostile or looking down on the culture and art of any ethnic group, but is sad to witness a Ministry of Education under the new Cabinet repeatedly implementing new policies that seem to make the children’s education as a plaything.

“The main problem is that the deputy minister has approached her responsibilities in a flawed manner. Her inconsistency makes her look like a two-faced person after taking office, one who has deceived and failed the people repeatedly.

“Saying that the inclusion of Jawi calligraphy in the syllabus is open for discussion naturally creates suspicion. Is she and her cohorts trying to please a specific person or group, at the expense of the community she claims to represent?

“More and more the PH coalition, especially the DAP, acts like a political creature that uses our young people’s future as a bargaining chip for power,” he said.