KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 1 — Over 300 Muslim students gathered in a peaceful protest here today to simultaneously rally public support for jawi and demand the government ban Chinese educationist group Dong Zong for opposing plans to teach the script.
Clad mostly in white and with some donning headbands and black tengkolok, the students brandished placards and banners in Malay that variously said “Rise people, defend Jawi”, “Ban Dong Zong” and “Don’t challenge the Malays”.
The Malaysian Muslim Students Coalition (Gamis) organised the rally and students assembled at the Sogo shopping complex at 2:30pm.
Earlier, some 150 students assembled at the iconic Masjid Jamek and had intended to march to the Sogo shopping complex.
However, Gamis president Saifullah Baiduri advised them not to proceed as moving protests are expressly prohibited under the Peaceful Assembly Act.
Instead, the attendees made their way independently to the Sogo Shopping complex and assembled there.
Yesterday, Dang Wangi District Police chief Assistant Commissioner Mohd Fahmi Visuvanathan Abdullah confirmed that the rally organisers did not adhere with the requirements of the PAA and the event was consequently against the law.
At the rally today, Saifullah accused Dong Zong of “insolence” for purportedly opposing the inclusion of jawi lessons in the national school syllabus.
“We all love Malaysia, we love the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians but what Dong Zong did is insolence. What they did is against the Education Act, against the Constitution and what is worst, is at odds with all the Malay monarchs.
“This is a warning to them, stop what you are doing. If you continue, then we will not hesitate to organise students’ and youth movements from every state to call for Dong Zong to be banned,” he said in a speech before a crowd of 300.
However, another speaker, Bangi PAS Youth chief Khairul Nadzir Helmi Azhar claimed the jawi issue to have been overblown by political parties for their own “selfish” ends, naming Opposition ally MCA and the ruling DAP as examples.
“The issue of three pages of jawi is a rather small matter but why the matter was overblown because certain quarters like the DAP and even MCA had used this small issue to draw the attention of the Chinese community to gain votes”.
He further claimed such parties were without dignity and only championed such issues “for the sake of political interest”.
“Do they know the consequences of doing so? If this continues, they will threaten national unity,’’ he added.
Local Muslim movement hit out at Dong Zong for allegedly perpetuating baseless fears against Islam. Its national deputy chairman Mohd Zai Mustafa said Dong Zong’s justification in opposing jawi lessons was “ridiculous”.
At the really, Saifullah read aloud Gamis’ demand that Dong Zong be banned, calling it an “extremist” group.
He accused the education group of disrupting national unity efforts and being against the Federal Constitution.
He said jawi must be introduced in vernacular schools and demanded respect for the national language.
Saifullah said a copy of Gamis’ memorandum will be sent to Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah.