‘KHAT’ DRAMA MAHATHIR’S LATEST POLITICAL STUNT TO DUPE MALAYS THEIR ‘SUPREMACY’ BEING UPHELD? Like it or not, the hard truth is you come out of Malaysian soil once, the Malay language becomes ineffective and worthless, until you travel to Brunei or Indonesia or even to a certain extent – Singapore.
Interestingly, Malay still keeps the status of national language in Singapore as the vocabulary was historically the lingua franca in the region. The national anthem – “Majulah Singapura” – is completely in Malay. But because of decades of racism and discrimination policies practised by the previous Barisan Nasional government, the minorities – ethnics Indian and Chinese – find it increasing harder to justify learning the vocabulary.
The only reason students in vernacular colleges learn the Malay language is because the topic is compulsory by virtue of it being the state and national language. The majority of the non-Malays send their children to vernacular school because the nationwide college sucks and has been transformed to become religious schools.
Well, it was the Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who confessed to the known fact. The focus on religion has caused students ill-equipped to get jobs. Naturally, the non-Malays, especially the Chinese, ignore such college like a plague. If non-Malay students are systematically discriminated before they even get into the job market, what good is learning the so-called national vocabulary if discrimination becomes worse when the minorities try finding careers in the civil service? Yes, government civil service is where the Malay language is utilized widely – both written and spoken.
Besides being the majority (61.7%) of the 32 million populations of Malaysia, the cultural Malays dominate the civil service – 78.8%. The Malaysian army comprises 98% of Malays, while in the Royal Malaysia Police, 80% includes Malays. It’s a simple demand and supply market. It isn’t rocket science that mastering the Malay language is pretty useless if you can’t find jobs as public servants. Although the training Ministry guaranteed NUTP (National Union of the Teaching Profession) that students wouldn’t normally be assessed on their mastery of the artwork, the cultural minorities are not convinced.
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After 60 years of discrimination and racism, who are able to blame the ethnic Chinese and Indians to be suspicious that this could be the starting of Islamisation of vernacular universities? But what’s incorrect with forcing the Jawi scripting down the neck of Chinese and Indians primary students? Well, what’s incorrect with forcing the Chinese calligraphy into the throat of Malay main students then?
There’s nothing wrong, actually. But the problem is the misplaced of priorities in enforcing the “Khat” to the degree of making it mandatory. The Education ministry promises that the Jawi calligraphy was a skill of writing that could make learning more fun for pupils while teaching them beautiful handwriting. If that is true, then it ought to be categorised under extracurricular activities – just like Chinese calligraphy, crafts and arts, dance and drama, abacus mental arithmetic, robotic, taekwondo and whatnot.
To declare that Jawi, which really is a variant of the Arabic script, is part of Malay language, hence must be learned by Year 4 Chinese and Indian students are quite hilarious. Even the Malay-Muslim students are having trouble with the Arabic scripting, and today the empty vessel Maszlee wants the non-Malay-Muslims to be thrown in to the same bandwagon.
That’s fine. After decades of being treated and discriminated as second-class people, the non-Malays have grown to be super students capable of mastering at least three languages from the age of 7 onwards. Their linguistic effectiveness includes the Malay, English and Mandarin languages. However, it’s unjustifiableto ask them to learn another set of “ancient language” that has hardly any value. While it’s true that Jawi was the Arabic script for writing Malay language before these were Romanised up to the 1960s, it had been part of Malay culture never.