DAP has backed Dong Zong amid the tussle over the introduction of khat in the primary school Year 4 syllabus, saying that it is not a racist organisation despite accusations on the contrary and calls for the group to be banned.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng (photo, above) said the party does not agree with the claim that the Chinese educationist group is racist, and defends Dong Zong’s right to express its views.
“In fulfilling its role to protect Chinese education, Dong Zong has attracted criticisms and condemnation, but Dong Zong has never threatened the rights and security of other Malaysians.
“Instead Dong Zong respects the Federal Constitution position of Bahasa Malaysia as the national language, whilst other languages can be freely taught and learnt,” he said, citing Articles 152 (1)(a) and 152 (1)(b) of the Federal Constitution.
He added that while people have a democratic right to object or oppose Dong Zong’s views, this does not extend to threats of punishment or injury against those who hold differing views.
“For this reason, DAP strongly disagrees with any suggestion to ban Dong Zong,” he said.
Dong Zong had opposed the government’s plan to introduce three pages of khat lessons in the Year 4 Bahasa Malaysia syllabus, arguing that it was a form of “Islamisation”.
In the meantime, several groups including the Bersatu’s youth wing had launched petitions calling for Dong Zong to be banned.
On the matter of banning Dong Zong, Mahathir, who is also the Bersatu chairperson, said it is for the police to decide.
"If it keeps on stimulating (or) inciting the people to fight against each other, of course, that is against the law," he said.
However, Lim claimed that Mahathir has no intention of banning Dong Zong.
He said since becoming prime minister, Mahathir had adopted an open approach to freedom of expression with no one being threatened with punishment, public disorder, injury, or hurt by lies.
“Mahathir has even given instructions that no one should be arrested or prosecuted for severely criticising him as prime minister, unlike the practice of the previous prime minister.
“Therefore, DAP believes that the prime minister has no intention of banning Dong Zong,” he said.