KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police have obtained a court order against education group Dong Zong on Friday (Dec 27) to stop it from holding the Chinese Organisation Congress, a gathering of Chinese associations against Jawi script lessons in vernacular schools.
Local media reported that the court order was delivered to Dong Zong, or United Chinese School Committees’ Association of Malaysia, on Friday evening.
The Chinese Organisation Congress was originally scheduled to be held at New Era University College on Saturday to appeal to the government to rescind its decision to introduce jawi script lessons in vernacular primary schools.
"Based on latest information collected by the applicant (the police), there will be rowdy behaviour or riots if the congress is held," read the court order, as cited in a Nanyang Siang Pau news article.
"Therefore, your presence at the hall of New Era University College, Kajang, on Dec 28, 2019 is prohibited. You have been warned not to appear, gather or take part in the congress."
READ: Malaysia’s educationists against teaching of jawi calligraphy in vernacular schools as controversy rages
The issue has been brewing since August when the Education Ministry decided to include Jawi script lessons in Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools as part of the Malay language syllabus beginning next year.
The decision caused uneasiness among the Chinese groups known to be protective of its mother tongue education.
Following news reports of a planned Chinese Organisation Congress to rally against the teaching of Jawi script, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said such event could lead to repercussions from the Malay community.
The Malay community might respond by organising their own congress to talk about closing down Chinese vernacular schools, he said.
Resistance to Jawi script lessons has angered the Malay community, which views Jawi script as a national heritage.
In a forum on Jawi on Thursday night, Education Ministry’s deputy director-general Habibah Abdul Rahim explained that the lessons aims to expose students to Malaysia’s heritage through the meaning of Jawi script on everyday items such as bank notes and stamps.
“A long time ago Bahasa Malaysia was in Jawi but now people are more familiar with the Romanised version. We are not going backwards but only to raise awareness on our heritage that we had used in the past,” she said, according to Malay Mail.