All on Dr. Tan Tiong Hong to explain why action has been taken against the KL teacher who forced students to study Jawi.

By parliamentary Opposition Leader, Dap Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 9.6.1984:

All on Dr. Tan Tiong Hong to explain why action has been taken against the KL teacher who forced students to study Jawi.

Following the complaint in the News Straits Times Actionline of 31.5.1984 that a non-Malay Std. Four pupil in a school in Jalan Peel, Kuala Lumpur, had been forced to learn Jawi, and the comment by the Deputy Director of Education in FT, Zainal Abidin Haji Bahaudin that Jawi was now a compulsory subject for all pupils as it is part of Bahasa Malaysia subject, the Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Tan Tiong Hong and the Director-General of Education, Tan Sri Murad Mohd. Noor, had both come out with public denials.

I find the comment by the other Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Khalil Yaakob, most significant, when he commented that ‘at this stage’ Jawi not compulsory. Does he mean that at a different stage, Jawi would be made compulsory, knowing fully well that under the present Constitution and the National Language Act, Jawi is not part of the official language.

The compulsory teaching of Jawi to non-Malay primary school pupils is unconstitutional and illegal. Yet, whatever denials by Dr.Tan
Tiong Hong and the Education Minister officials, the fact remains that Jawi is being taught as a compulsory subject in primary schools, as testified by the original complaint in the News Straits Time Actionline. It is also very significant that although Dr. Tan said that the Deputy Director of the Federal Territory had been misquoted and that the News Straits Times would make a correction, there has been no correction whatsoever.

Dr. Tan had also said that he would investigate into the complaint. He should let the public know whether he had investigated, and what action he had taken against the teacher who had flouted the Constitution and laws in making compulsory Jawi studies for non-Malay pupils. An example must be made of the teacher so that there would be no further recurrence of this incident.

I hope Dr. Tan would not keep silent and go dumb, for then it would mean that he is powerless to deal with teachers who could openly flout the Constitution and the laws of the land.