Two major Chinese education associations have slammed selected media outlets including Sin Chew Daily and Utusan Malaysia for reporting that they intended to hold a rally over the khat issue.
Dong Zong (United Chinese School Committees' Association of Malaysia) and Jiao Zong (United Chinese School Teachers' Association) criticised local news outlets who falsely published the news that Dong Zong and related organisations will be holding a rally to protest the addition of khat writing in vernacular schools.
"Dong Zong wants to explain that no rally was planned and only an internal meeting was to be held with several multi-racial organisations on Aug 5 to discuss of the inclusion of khat art in Chinese and Tamil schools."
"These internal meetings are solely focused on an analysis of the Education Ministry's initiative through pedagogical aspects for education, learning effectiveness as well as the reality and functionalism of Jawi script in improving the level of mastery and knowledge of the Malay language," Dong Jong said in a statement today.
"Our stand is not to oppose the government's efforts to implement cultural interactions between various races or promote the values of diversity and integration."
The organisations said that they did not want "suspicion, caution and unpleasantness" and important decisions reached without discussion and consultation with the relevant stakeholders.
"Dong Zong is worried about irresponsible news misreporting and unwanted negative reactions," read the statement.
In the last few days, the proposal to introduce khat writing in Year 4 in vernacular schools has become a heated topic.
Education Minister Maszlee Malik said today the ministry's move was not aimed at "establishing Islamisation in vernacular schools".
Sin Chew in its morning and evening Mandarin edition dated Aug 1 reported that Dong Jiao Zong will hold a rally against the khat issue at its Kajang headquarters.
Subsequently, an English version of the paper said "Dong Jiao Zong rally against Jawi on Monday"
On the same day, Utusuan also came out with the headline "Dong Zong, Jiao Zong anjur himpunan Isnin depan, bantah tulisan Jawi".
Meanwhile, a group of NGOs led by Angkatan Gerak Minda Malaysia (Agra) plans to submit a memorandum to Dong Zong over the khat issue.
Agra president Ashraf Mustaqim Badrul Murni said the memorandum calls on Dong Zong to respect the government's decision to introduce khat into the Bahasa Malaysia syllabus.
"We wish to advise Dong Zong and any like-minded groups to not become a thorn in the flesh of the government that wants to build a national identity with a bumiputera root," he said.
Ashraf Mustaqim is Bersatu Youth's exco member holding the education portfolio.