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PETALING JAYA, Dec 29 — The organiser of today’s closely watched National Jawi Congress and Majlis Persidangan Melayu (MPM) have agreed to jointly hold an open forum to discuss the thorny Malay language heritage issue that appears to be dividing Malaysia along racial lines.
Local actress Ellie Suriaty Omar, representing MPM, announced the dialogue after speaking with Arun Doraisamy, national secretary of Seni Khat Action Team (Sekat), which organised this morning’s congress.
She said the planned talk aims to clear up any misunderstanding among both Malays and non-Malays over the introduction of jawi in vernacular schools and hopefully reach an amicable resolution on the subject.
“So we have to listen to the views of our other friends, and we will have a forum together to give our views. This is important so that we are not divided by this issue,” she told reporters after the National Jawi Congress at the Crystal Crown Hotel here.
Ellie added that the date and place will be decided and announced later.
Earlier when speaking to the press, Sekat’s Arun declared today’s forum a success, stressing that the most important takeaway was the decision to have a joint forum with the Malay NGOs.
Arun said he spent around half an hour speaking to the MPM representatives who were present today, where it was later agreed that he would join a forum organised by those advocating the jawi script lessons.
“Our desires are both the same, but our approach is different, so I have agreed to participate in their forum in the near future.
“We are ready, they are ready, and we have proven everybody wrong (by agreeing to speak together),” said Arun.
Among the topics which were discussed during today’s congress was the role of the Education Ministry in organising discourse sessions among stakeholders to fully ascertain the sentiments on the ground.
Arun, during his address, accused Education Minister Maszlee Malik of jumping to conclusions when he assumed that the grouses surrounding the introduction of jawi script lessons were mere racial issues.
The Sekat sec-gen said such stances cannot be taken by the minister before any groundwork had been done, and instead advised the ministry to hold discussions with stakeholders from all ethnic groups, and not just a selected few.
“If you had a meeting with all NGO’s there would be no problem, for example, until now Sarawak has never been asked, those outside the ministry have never been called in to have a meeting also.
“This is the fault of the ministry, his (Maszlee) approach is wrong,” said Arun.
“So let’s meet, together with the minister, we must have all five groups there, from Sabah, Sarawak, the Malays, the Chinese, and the Indians; let’s have a meeting and discuss ways to solve this, that’s all,” he added.