PETALING JAYA: PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang today hit out at those who claimed the introduction of Jawi in vernacular schools was an attempt to Islamise students as criticisms against detractors of the policy increased.
He said it would be easier to explain Islam in the respective mother tongues to woo non-Muslims than through Jawi.
“So, do not cite Jawi writing as one of the reasons someone would embrace Islam,” he said in a statement.
The government has announced that Jawi will be taught to Year Four students in schools beginning in 2020. However, the subject will be made optional for vernacular schools, with prior approval from the parent-teacher association.
The move, however, sparked controversy, with Chinese education group Dong Zong at the forefront of opposing the decision.
Citing “research by some scholars and literary experts”, it claimed in a petition that it was meant to spread Islam.
Education Minister Maszlee Malik has denied the allegation.
Hadi pointed out that Muslims were encouraged to learn other languages, including Chinese and Tamil, and did not force converts to change languages after embracing Islam.
“Hence, it is not fair for them to prevent their community to learn our language and it is even more unfortunate that they are not aware that they are staying in a Malay world,” he said.
On the eve of a conference – supposed to have been held yesterday – on the introduction of Jawi in vernacular schools, Hadi had warned Dong Zong that it was an ethnic group living in “a Malay world” and should not overstep its boundaries.
Dong Zong called off the event after police obtained a court order.