Let’s have One System One School, says PPBM man

The proposed introduction of lessons on Jawi calligraphy (khat) was met with strong protests from defenders of Chinese-medium and Tamil-medium primary schools.

PETALING JAYA: A member of the PPBM Supreme Council, Tariq Ismail, has called for the establishment of a single schooling system in which the quality of national schools is raised to be better than vernacular schools.

Tariq also proposed that pupils in all schools be made to learn the Rukun Negara from Year 1 and to be tested on it. “If there are objections to this, it is not racist but a betrayal. If we cannot correct adults to think rationally, we can correct their children.”

PPBM Supreme Council member Tariq Ismail.

The Rukun Negara is a set of five principles introduced in the wake of the 1969 racial riots. These principles are: Belief in God, Loyalty to King and Country, Upholding of the Constitution, Upholding of the Rule of Law, and Upholding of Good Behaviour and Morality.

Tariq’s suggestion of a single schooling system came in response to objections raised by the Chinese education group Dong Zong to the introduction of lessons on Jawi calligraphy (khat) for Year 4 pupils in vernacular schools next year.

“On Dong Zong, I just want to say we should have One System One School, make the national schools better than vernacular schools,” he said. “The government does not need to give any allocations or funds to vernacular schools.”

Dong Zong was criticised last week by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who labelled the group as a “racist” organisation.

Malaysia’s national education system comprises national primary and secondary schools with Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction; national-type (government-assisted) vernacular Chinese-and Tamil-medium primary schools; and independent Chinese-medium secondary schools.

Tariq said there were bigger issues at hand than khat, such as the liberalisation of the energy sector, which would result in foreign companies dominating local firms.

“Still want to argue that khat is the beginning of Islamisation? Still want to argue on what Zakir Naik says? When we fight with each other on small matters, the bigger evil will creep up on us and tomorrow, we will awaken to being slaves of foreign companies,” he claimed.