Saturday 22 Jun 2024
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(Sept 21): Outraged over the calls by Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu or “red shirt” rally goers to abolish vernacular schools, a Muslim family from the northern state of Kedah have defended their decision to send their children to a Chinese school.

In Facebook, Najihah Desa posted a picture of rally goers holding up banners calling for the abolishment of Chinese schools and another of her daughter in her classroom, with the caption: “Hokay!!! Anak aku sekolah SJKC. so apa masalahnya???” (My children go to Chinese school. So what is the problem?)

Her post has garnered more than 33,000 likes and 23,000 shares since it was uploaded on Thursday, a day after the rally on Sept 16 in Kuala Lumpur.

Many who commented, including other Muslims, who said they also sent their children to vernacular schools, praised Najihah for making a stand and slammed the actions of "red shirt” rally goers who were against such schools.

“My best friend sekolah cina, sekarang hantar anak sekolah cina.. ok je ! Apa hal nak tutup sekolah cina ? racist !!!!! kata satu malaysia podahhh..," said Iema Amdan. (My best friend went to a Chinese school, now sending her children to one. It is all right. Why do they want to close Chinese schools? Racist. What about 1Malaysia?)

Najihah and her husband are from Taman Desa Jaya, Guar Chempedak. Their daughters Husna, 11, and Hannan, 7, attend SJK (C) Chung Hwa in Sungai Yan.

The Star interviewed Najihah on her Facebook post and she told the paper that she felt vernacular schools should not be politicised.

“What has the school done wrong? Why politicise it?” she was quoted as saying.

She added that she was happy that her children were learning an extra language.

“Knowing more than one language is an advantage and this will bring about closer harmony with the other races. My children have friends of all races and my husband is a businessman who constantly deals with his Chinese counterparts,” she told The Star.

Husna said her ambition was to be a teacher in China as Mandarin was her favourite subject. She had even won third place in a Mandarin story-telling competition last year.

“I want to make more Chinese friends. I also want to climb the Great Wall of China one day.

“I like Chinese comics. My sister and I are big fans of Wang Lee Hom and By2, and we know many of their songs,” The Star reported Husna as saying, adding that she also liked Chinese calligraphy and proverbs.

The rally on Sept 16 saw some of its participants hold a banner with the words “Hapuskan SJKC” (abolish Chinese schools).

MCA Youth has lodged a report over the banner which, it said, was seditious.

Vernacular schools have long been a subject of debate in Malaysia, with some arguing that they hampered efforts to foster national unity among schoolchildren.

But proponents of vernacular education have said enrolment by children of other races in these schools had increased over time with parents acting on the declining standards in national public schools. – The Malaysian Insider

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