KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique has reportedly declined to answer questions regarding public-funded Chinese schools in Pahang that were given new signboards bearing only Bahasa Malaysia and Jawi script.

News portal Malaysiakini reported today that Halimah also declined to comment regarding Deputy Education Minister Mah Hang Soon’s intervention in the same matter.

“Because this (directive) is from the (Pahang) Education Department, I think we should get a response from the Education Ministry,” she was quoted as saying.

“This matter is related to the responsibilities of the educational institution. Even at school level.

“Whatever decisions made will be based on what is available to the ministry. So I can’t answer this,” she reportedly said.

In early November, Chinese-language newspaper Sin Chew reported the signboard issue, which caused an uproar among the public, educationalists and politicians as many said it was against the spirit of multiculturalism.

Yesterday, Mah announced that he had instructed the state education department to remake the signboards, this time bearing Chinese and Tamil characters, adding that the signboards without the Chinese characters will not need to be put up yet.

Halimah today also did not give a direct answer when she was asked if the signboard issue could be seen as going against efforts to promote unity among the multiple ethnicities in this country.

“Like I said, in terms of branding, Bahasa Malaysia is the national language.

“So, for example, they want to put other languages, that should be the decision of the ministry,” she added.