Pakatan Harapan lawmaker Wong Shu Qi today accused the opposition of taking her speech on the introduction of khat (Jawi calligraphy) in schools out of context in a bid to play up racial sentiments.
The DAP Kluang MP said this includes a reference she made to the use of Jawi text in pornographic books during a dialogue session with Chinese groups last Friday.
In a statement, Wong alleged that "an MCA leader" in attendance had recorded her speech without permission, which was later uploaded on social media by a Kluang MCA Youth leader.
Part of this recording, which has since been deleted, was later used by Umno cybertroopers to accuse her of insulting Jawi, she claimed. Video clips of the speech are circulating online.
"By referring to the same speech, MCA accused me of supporting Jawi to incite the Chinese, Umno claimed I insulted Jawi to incite the Malays. Their evil political game is clearly shining through," she said.
As Wong noted, she was explaining the khat issue during a dialogue session with representatives from the Tiong Hwa Association and 27 other Chinese groups in Kluang.
“In my speech, I explained that Jawi was used as the general system of writing for Bahasa Malaysia before 1956, and was used for all sorts of reading materials in the language, which were not limited to Islamic writing alone.
“In the presentation, I used three slides to explain the argument through the history of Jawi writing, including... Jawi being used in Bahasa Malaysia writing before Romanised letters were introduced. Hence, Jawi was used in the Christian Bible in the 19th century.
“Slide two gave examples of other reading materials which used Jawi, including pornographic reading materials,” her statement read.
The third slide, Wong explained, showed that people do not assume Chinese calligraphy is reserved for Buddhism just because it is used in religious manuscripts.
From the purported transcript of her speech during the dialogue session, Wong had said the image on the second slide "shows pornography books from long ago, and is just used as a picture reference here.
"If Jawi was specific for Islamic use only, should Islamic extremists have known of this, there is a chance they would have objected to the use of Jawi by non-Muslims, as these kinds of materials could insult Islam."
Wong today stressed in her statement that her presentation was aimed at clearing the confusion over the introduction of khat by the Education Ministry, which some believe to be an Islamisation tactic.
“The evil action of twisting my speech shows that MCA and Umno conspired to play up racial sentiments over the issue of Jawi (khat) writing.”
DAP leaders have been slammed by its grassroots and by Chinese educationist groups for defending the introduction of optional khat writing lessons in the Standard 4 Bahasa Malaysia syllabus, including for vernacular schools.
Khat is the calligraphic or written art form of Jawi, which was used to write Bahasa Malaysia prior to use of the Roman alphabet.
Meanwhile, former Umno Youth leader Mohd Razlan Rafii said Wong’s choice of example on the use of Jawi was "irresponsible" and a mere popularity tactic.
"There are many examples which could have been taken to show DAP is sincere in supporting (teaching of khat).
"DAP likes seeking popularity by bringing in sensitive issues with hidden meanings,” he claimed in a statement.
As such, Razlan accused Wong of intentionally sensationalising the issue by shaming khat writing.