Court rules okay for Jawi to be taught in vernacular schools

The High Court has ruled that Jawi is part of Bahasa Malaysia (Bernama pic).

GEORGE TOWN: The High Court here today ruled that Jawi was part of Bahasa Malaysia and is therefore okay to be taught to pupils in Chinese and Tamil schools.

In dismissing a challenge by Gerakan, 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 against the spirit of the National Languages Act 1963/1967 and also the provisions under the Federal Constitution.

Gerakan said in its challenge that the teaching of Jawi, the old Malay language script, could lead to the perception that Islam was being propagated to students of other faiths, as it was taught in the Islamic Studies class.

Gerakan, through its president Dominic Lau Hoe Chai, had named Education Minister Maszlee Malik, his deputy Teo Nie Ching and the federal government as respondents.

Amarjit also dismissed the argument by senior federal counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambali that Lau had no locus standi to sue the government, saying Lau passed the test to sue the government by virtue of being the president of a political party.

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

Gerakan had earlier submitted to the court that it was normal practice for Jawi to be taught during Islamic Studies classes in national-type schools.

It said having Jawi classes in Chinese or Tamil schools would give the perception that Islam was being propagated in vernacular schools, which it felt was not right.

In objecting to Gerakan’s application, Hanir told the court that Lau had no locus standi to sue the government and that teaching Jawi was not against the Federal Constitution.

Tan Lee Kiat and Mak Kah Keong appeared for Gerakan.

Mak, when contacted, said a decision whether to appeal the matter would be made in the next few days.