PUTRAJAYA, Dec 30 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today voiced his party’s disappointment with a court order obtained by the police to prevent a congress organised by Chinese education group Dong Jiao Zong to discuss the implementation of jawi in vernacular schools next year.
Lim said freedom of speech should be available in New Malaysia, adding that he did not see a reason to bar the closed-door event.
“For example, Kongres Maruah Melayu was given a green light. This should have been allowed. Maybe there were some parties that did not agree with the views put forward but this is an aspect of New Malaysia,” Lim who is also finance minister told reporters after closing the Financial Literacy Festival here.
He reiterated the Cabinet’s decision that jawi is optional in vernacular schools and requires the consent of their respective Parent Teacher Associations before it can be taught.
Lim also remarked that the 14 letters being taught in the three pages in Bahasa Melayu textbooks is not enough to learn jawi as the script has 37 letters in its alphabet.
The Chinese Organisations Joint Conference was scheduled to be held in Kajang on December 28 but police obtained a court order on the eve to stop the organisers from proceeding.
The police — fearing riots — also urged the public not to attend the Dong Jiao Zong congress, or any other counter assemblies by groups protesting the Chinese education coalition.
Lim’s sentiments are similar to what his party’s Youth chief Howard Lee had said on December 28 — that the police action against Dong Jiao Zong is contrary to the constitutional guarantee for freedom of speech.
Lee cited Article 10 (1) (a) of the Federal Constitution, which states that every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression and clause (b) that all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms.