Malaysiakini Yoursay

Yoursay: Jawi issue being used to divide Malaysians

Published:  |  Modified:

YOURSAY | 'Anwar is falling into the trap of trying to be all things to all men.'

Yoursay | Jawi is a national treasure, says Anwar

FairMalaysian: Left on its own, the Jawi issue may not have attracted the level of controversy that it now faces.

But when Perak mufti Harussani Zakaria talks about it, and when he extends it with a digression on questioning of vernacular schools, the non-Malays shouldn't be faulted from feeling suspicious, and it carries with it the apprehension that it may cause the further erosion of the existing character of what is left of the non-Malays.

It doesn't help that with its Arabic fusion, and the forceful nature of those who wish to see it through, by all means, it stands little or no chance in gaining traction with the non-Malays.

When PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim mentions Jawi as a national treasure, is he talking as a Malay or as a Muslim?

Pahang has passed a law that all business signboards should also include the Jawi script. Just because Islam is the religion of the federation, does that mean that Malays can do anything they want against the wishes of the non-Malays? They, too, have rights under the Constitution.

In almost every sphere where Islam became a part of the administration, did it ever occur to the powers-that-be to ask the non-Malays their opinions or were the sentiments of the non-Malays ever considered?

The Malays are the majority in the country, comprising almost 70 percent of the population. So, I am wondering - with such a massive population on their side - why do they think Jawi may lose its heritage value?

Or is it fair to assume that had the Malays themselves been concerned about their heritage, they need not push non-Malays to learn Jawi? They wouldn't have lost Utusan Malaysia when the massive number of Malays could have sustained it.

If Anwar is as much interested in sustaining the Jawi heritage, he should not forget that the Malays have abandoned another important heritage. Where is Anwar's concern that one of the "treasures" of the Malay heartland, the ‘wayang kulit’, has been abandoned?

Until Hussein Onn, the country followed a fairly secular system of government but everyone seems to agree that it was Anwar who started the Islamisation process.

If Anwar had read the results of the Tanjung Piai by-election, he would have understood the sentiments of the non-Malays on issues related to vernacular education. I hope he will realise this before it is too late.

Man Lee: Okay, Jawi is a national treasure. But what about joget, ronggeng, sarong kebaya, and yes, wayang kulit, plus a hundred other Malay heritage and traditions now deemed ‘haram’ by the new Arab wannabe culture?

Shouldn’t we bring back all the great Malay traditions handed down through the centuries?

BH Yap: Indeed, no Malaysian is denying that Jawi is a national treasure, Anwar. Don't change the focus of the problem.

Why introduce Jawi, instead of skills like computer coding which can help further the students’ employment prospects and usefulness to society when the time tables are already so tight? Why is there coercion to study Jawi instead of a choice?

Rupert16: "Sometimes, people who oppose (Jawi) are a bit too much, affecting (menyentuh) the feelings of the Malays as if Jawi is ancient,” said Anwar.

Likewise, the people who want to introduce Jawi into the education system are a bit too much, affecting the feelings of the non-Malays as Jawi is useless and of no relevance to them.

Cogito Ergo Sum: Jawi is very powerful. It’s being weaponised to divide an already divided nation. Are you part of this grand design, Anwar?

Instead of being a statesman in waiting, it appears you are part of a system that is ensuring the hegemony of a certain class of people in society. If that is the case, we are doomed, even before you can come into power.

Tango Bug: The issue was never Jawi as a script. Please do not reframe the narrative of the racist NGOs.

The issue was the forced compulsion behind the introduction of Islamic calligraphy with its religious overtones, masquerading behind the term ‘khat’. There is already too much religious indoctrination in the sekolah kebangsaan syllabus/curriculum.

So, please have the cojones to grab the bull by the horns. Jawi as a script is not the issue, compulsion by making Islamic calligraphy a mandatory component of the language syllabus is the issue.

Proarte: Anwar is falling into the trap of trying to be all things to all men. Anwar must remember that the Malay support for Harapan is only 36 percent. But in the last general election, Harapan won a comfortable majority.

Anwar must eschew the Malay and Muslim race card. He has no choice. Otherwise, he simply cannot hope to be prime minister. Anwar has to project himself as a PM for all Malaysians and a respecter of all religions.

Anwar must know by now that Muslim and Malay supremacists will stab him in the back at the drop of a hat, and pandering to the race and religious card is foolhardy politically.

Why didn’t Anwar take the opportunity to educate the Malays that the Pallava Sanskrit script was used in the Malay language before the introduction of the Islamic script?

If Jawi is a “national treasure”, then Anwar should equally have described Sanskrit as a “Malay treasure” and should be introduced as an option in Malay language studies, just like khat.

His failure to do so has heated up the issue and showed the rakyat that Anwar is not yet ready to be PM for all Malaysians.

Evin K: Anwar, you cannot expect the people, all of a sudden and out of the blue, to accept your definition of what a national treasure is, or is not.

People are not afraid of these three pages of introduction to Jawi, which is clearly a non-issue, but they fear the precedent that these three pages and the way it was bulldozed and shoved down their throats, represent.

Look, this is 2020. You cannot force things on people anymore, particularly your views on what is right and what is wrong.

Hang Babeuf: Jawi may well be, in heritage terms, a national treasure.

But saying so, affirming that it is, is not an answer to the political problem that Malaysia now faces, and has had recklessly imposed upon it, by intimidatory partisan appeals to make learning Jawi mandatory.

It is not an answer, Anwar, it is a cop-out. Alas, a typical cop-out, I dare say.

Yoursay | When muftis jump into the Jawi fray

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