PM: Dong Zong racist
0 month ago, 13-Aug-2019
LANGKAWI: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has described Dong Zong, the United Chinese School Committees Association, as racist as it has never agreed with national education policies, including the introduction of Jawi calligraphy in schools.
The prime minister said apart from the Jawi calligraphy or khat issue, the group had also protested against the setting up of Vision School (Sekolah Wawasan) for fear of Chinese students mixing with other races.
“Dong Zong is racist; we set up a campus in Vision School to put a Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (SJK) Cina, a SJK Tamil and a sekolah kebangsaan (national school) in one campus, but they were against it.
They are afraid to let their children mix with Malays, so they did not want it. They are against all (implemented by the government), never agreed with anything, he told reporters after attending a gathering with the residents of Padang Matsirat in conjunction with the Hari Raya Aidiladha celebration here yesterday.
He was asked to comment on Dong Zongs move to organise a petition to protest the learning of Jawi calligraphy in vernacular schools.
Elaborating, Dr Mahathir said the decision to introduce khat was made in 2012 by the previous government but the Chinese pressure group did not raise its objection at that time.
He said the present government is practising a more open policy for groups to voice their views compared to the earlier government.
Dr Mahathir also said when the country wanted to achieve independence, the government introduced romanised writing to help non-Malays as it would be difficult for them to learn Jawi.
Now the Malays have to learn Jawi to read the Quran instead. So, why are we fighting? We have given special consideration in the interest of non-Malays, he said.
Asked whether policy matters should be discussed in the Cabinet before a decision is made, Dr Mahathir said almost all matters are discussed in the Cabinet but the contents of discussion are not made public.
Meanwhile, commenting on a call by Klang MP Charles Santiago who wanted the power of the prime minister in making decisions curbed, Dr Mahathir cynically said he will refer to Charles before making any decision.
In future, when making a decision, I will ask Charles Santiago; if he did not agree I will not make the decision. Of course, I have to obtain his view; he is on the same level as me, he said.
The DAP parliamentarian has called for a review in the decision-making the process at the Pakatan Harapan Presidential Council as he said there seemed to be too much power in the hands of the Prime Minister.
Santiago said this power needed to be shared equally among the component parties in Pakatan.
He added that controversial issues in government involving race and religion should be coursed through the council.
We cant get rid of former premier Najib Razak, only to become just like him, he said in a statement yesterday that touched on the khat issue.
Santiago said Dr Mahathir had been making unilateral decisions for the people at a troubling frequency.
Or thats the pretty picture that he is sending: that Mahathir calls the shots despite coming from a minority party, he said, adding that it was unfortunate that a beautiful form of calligraphy like khat was dragged through the mud by both the “hoi polloi and the privileged”.
And all of the discourses over the last two weeks have centred on the theory that khat is Islamic calligraphy to promote Quranic verses or that its a sneaky way of ramming Islamisation down our throats. And of course, the counter-narratives to this argument, he said.
Santiago said people seemed to have carelessly overlooked the fact that one man was making arbitrary decisions.
I am sure that Mahathir and Education Minister Maszlee Malik, were aware of the sensitivities surrounding this subject before the idea was floated around.
And why wouldnt people be suspicious? The Pakatan Harapan government is protecting controversial preacher Zakir Naik, he said.
Santiago also pointed out the fact that Malaysia bailed out on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd) and turned their backs on the Rome Statute.
He said in the next week, the government would be backtracking on its manifesto commitments in renewing Lynas’ operating license.
The government clearly doesnt have a good track record to win the confidence of the people.
In sharp contrast, they (the people) are livid, furious and threaten to vote us out of power in the next general election. And I understand their anger.
Mahathir, by now, should be able to read the mood of the people.
“And he must understand that arbitrary decisions, without consultation, will not get him far, he said, adding that there were many other issues that needed to be addressed first, including the economy.