Group Moots 'National Skip School Day' To Oppose Jawi

  • 26 Aug 2019

The implementation of Jawi lessons in the Standard Four Bahasa Malaysia syllabus continues to attract opposition, despite the government's attempts to diffuse tensions surrounding the issue. 

Now, a group called Seni Khat Action Team (Sekat) has vowed to hold a campaign to convince children to skip school, should the government proceed with the introduction of Jawi without discussions with relevant stakeholders. 

"If our demands are not met, Sekat will hold a 'National Skip School Day', with the cooperation of parents who do not want their children to learn Jawi, nationwide," its secretary Arun Dorasamy told a press conference yesterday, adding that it would be a last resort measure. 

Sekat is a coalition of 24 national NGOs and parties from the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.

Following backlash to the proposal to implement khat or Jawi calligraphy lessons, the Education Ministry said that the lesson will only be taught in Standard Four with prior approval of parent-teacher associations, parents and pupils. 

Teachers will also be given the option on how to teach the subject, and it will not be testable. 

Sekat's National Skip School Day campaign has incurred the wrath of Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who dubbed the move "bodoh sombong" (foolishly arrogant). 

"Willing to stop children from getting education just because you are afraid of 3 pages (of Jawi lessons), which are not included in exams, and is optional. You cannot get more bodoh sombong than this," he had tweeted early this morning.

Replying to a netizen who called his response as "inappropriate" and that the government should engage in dialogue instead of resorting to name calling, Syed Saddiq stood his ground. 

"We've been engaging and explaining for one whole month, someone's education is being held at ransom and used as a bargaining tool. 

"If that's not aroogance, I don't know what is. A child's education is not up for bargain," he tweeted. 

Twitteratis are split between condemning Sekat over the campaign, and Syed Saddiq over his choice of words. 

Twitter user Kula Manter said the Indian community should instead focus on more important things, such as sub-ethnic erasure, poverty, extremism within the community and uplifting the community, instead of resorting to symbolic gestures like the campaign, that angers the people. 

User Thevesh condemned Syed Saddiq's choice of words, saying the minister should instead engage with Sekat to sort out the matter. 

"Ministers should not deliver rude knee-jerk reactions like this. Calling rakyat 'bodoh sombong' is the ultimate arrogance," he tweeted. 

He cited the staggering number of retweets Syed Saddiq's tweet garnered just hours after being posted, and that the majority of them seem to be agreeing with the latter in saying that members of the minority are stupid and arrogant. 

Meanwhile, in a statement this afternoon, Arun demanded Syed Saddiq to withdraw his "bodoh sombong" remark within 48 hours (by 5pm on Thursday, Aug 28), or risk facing legal action from Sekat. 

"We will also hold Syed Saddiq responsible for all online attacks against us by cybertroopers and any racial backlash that may arise from his slander."

What do you think of Sekat's campaign? 

Is it justified, given their claim that stakeholders were not consulted in the Jawi move, or is it an unwarranted move that will jeopardize children's education?

Source: Malaysiakini, Twitter
Photo source: The Malaysian Insight