Jawi can be taught in vernacular schools

GEORGE TOWN, 29 Nov 2019: 

The High Court here yesterday ruled that Jawi is part of Bahasa Malaysia and therefore can be taught to pupils in Chinese and Tamil schools.

In dismissing Gerakan’s suit that Jawi script should not be taught in vernacular schools nationwide, High Court judicial commissioner Amarjit Serjit Singh said the case ought to be thrown out as Jawi is part of Bahasa Malaysia, the national language.

He said the implementation of Jawi classes was not in conflict with the spirit of the National Language Act 1963/1967 and the provisions of the Federal Constitution.

In September, Gerakan filed a suit against the federal government to challenge the government’s decision to implement the teaching of Jawi script in vernacular schools.

Tan Lee Kiat and Mak Kah Keong represented Gerakan – which filed the suit through its president Dominic Lau Hoe Chai – who named Education Minister Maszlee Malik, his deputy Teo Nie Ching and the federal government as respondents.

Mak said through the application, Gerakan believed teaching Jawi in vernacular schools would give the perception that Islam was being propagated to students of other faiths, as taught in Islamic Studies classes.

“We have earlier submitted to the court that it is normal practice for Jawi to be taught during Islamic Studies classes in national-type schools.

“So the teaching of Jawi in Chinese or Tamil schools would give the perception that Islam was being propagated in vernacular schools, which is not right.”

He said the Gerakan central committee would meet to decide whether or not to appeal the decision.

Earlier, Amarjit also dismissed the argument by senior federal counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambali that Lau had no locus standi to sue the government because he is the president of a political party.

Amarjit dismissed the case but made no order as to costs.

– Bernama