KUCHING, Nov 28 — The Sarawak United Association of Chinese School Boards of Management (Sha Dong Zong) has condemned the authorities for not displaying Chinese characters on the signboards of two Chinese primary schools in Pahang.
In a statement today, Sha Dong Zong said the signboards only display the respective school names in Bahasa Malaysia and Jawi.
“There are no Chinese characters on the school signboards, which we are deeply concerned about. We regard this as an indignant gesture of the authorities and we object to it.
“We demand that the Ministry of Education and the state Education Department in Pahang take immediate action to rectify the schools signboards,” said Sha Dong Zong.
According to Sha Dong Zong, a signboard signifies the identity as far as Chinese traditions are concerned.
It explained that a Chinese school’s signboard without Chinese characters on it indicates a loss of identity.
“Our rights to learn and use the mother tongue are enshrined under the Federal Constitution. And this incident of Chinese characters missing from the signboards of Chinese schools has once again shown that the authorities disregard the basic rights of Chinese education, thereby creating dissent and distrust among different races.”
Sha Dong Zong reminded the authorities that Chinese primary schools are managed by their respective school boards as stipulated under the Education Act 1996.
It stressed that the various school boards own their respective Chinese primary schools.
“Any acts, policies or plans that should alter the nature of Chinese primary schools or hurt the interests of these schools will be condemned by their school boards,” said Sha Dong Zong.
In light of this, Sha Dong Zong urged the Sarawak state Education Department to be more sensitive in implementing policies in the state to respect the rights of all schools, so as to prevent similar incidents from happening in Sarawak.
It also appealed to Chinese leaders in the country to play their role in defending the community’s rights to Chinese education.
“Our Chinese leaders need to pay due attention to the current affairs and development in the country, always be on alert to keep extremism and bigotry at bay in order to protect Chinese primary schools,” added Sha Dong Zong. — Borneo Post