Dong Zong explains absence from forum on jawi lessons in schools

Students learn jawi on their first day of school at SK Seksyen 16 in Shah Alam January 2, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Students learn jawi on their first day of school at SK Seksyen 16 in Shah Alam January 2, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 — Chinese education umbrella group Dong Jiao Zong blamed miscommunication for its failure to attend a dialogue on the teaching of the jawi script that a minister organised.

The coalition said it thought the session that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P. Waytha Moorthy organised on January 7 was a continuation of previous discussions as the invitation did not include any agenda.

“Dong Jiao Zong only received the official invitation from the Prime Minister’s Department via email on the day itself, and found only 12 groups were invited while Jiao Zong and the names of other Malay organisations were not listed.

“Additionally, on the same day, Dong Jiao Zong was having a meeting with Muslim groups. Due to the lack of time and related issues, we could not attend the meeting with the minster and regret this,” it said in a statement.

It said it appreciated the minister’s efforts to find a resolution to the dispute, before adding that it was also working towards the same end.

Dong Jiao Zong is a coalition of the country’s two largest Chinese education groups Dong Zong and Jiao Zong, but is more commonly called Dong Zong.

Its absence from the January 7 meeting drew accusations that it was snubbing the administration in the matter.

The coalition was targeted by Malay-Muslim groups after it organised a conference to object to the teaching of the jawi script in vernacular schools.

Authorities forced this to be cancelled for fear of unrest after rival groups threatened to hold a rally to protest Dong Zong’s conference.

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