KUALA LUMPUR – Sept 5, 2016: The vision of Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim’s to create “Bangsa Johor” schools has led to an intense debate in cyberspace.
The discourse mainly by Facebookers started after a recorded dialogue featuring the Tunku Mahkota of Johor was posted on a page dedicated to the Johor Southern Tigers yesterday.
The TMJ had among others expressed his hope that the Johor government would provide its own education module for Johoreans which would promote unity.
He also questioned if the country’s vernacular schools have been promoting unity among Malaysians.
“In future, there will be no Indian, Chinese or Malay schools in Johor. There will only be ‘Bangsa Johor’ schools. From a young age, we’ll teach them how to be united, how to respect each other’s religion and how to respect other races.
“Where is 1Malaysia? You have Indian schools, you have Chinese schools and you have Malay schools. From young, you tell them not to be united. Then when they grow up, you tell them to be united?”
The remarks not surprisingly received mixed reactions from netizens but many praised the concept.
Saravanan Ramanathen had this to say: “TMJ, your system will lead Malaysia to be a better and progressive country that would be able to compete globally. Where else, the 1Malaysia concept is merely for political gain, which turns the country to what it is now.”
This is the comment from Johari Chang: “Yes, this move by Tunku will definitely unite Bangsa Johor. We are still staying with a racialist nature of governing. We adopt the slogan 1Malaysia but in reality, we are disunited. The system needs to be refined and adopted with open mind and sincerity.”
Helmi Imran Jeremiah noted that this is a good suggestion. “Everything starts with early education. If we have a conservative education system, then the generation will grow to be biased in favour of their own race. Liberalisation is important so we grow to be an open minded human being.”
And then there are the sceptics, among them Molly Tsl: “You (TMJ) are just trying to lead our children more backward by blaming Chinese and Indian schools. We have the right to learn our mother language in school as provided in the constitution.”
Mark Tay Kuan Meng obviously supports 1Malaysia.
“’Bangsa Johor’ sounds good, only if the future plan is to split from Malaysia. It should just be 1Malaysia, to achieve cultural success and equality without any political leverage. I’m sorry TMJ, but this time I disagree.”
Michelle Foo chided: “This is just nonsense! Anyone who agrees that vernacular schools are not patriotic is just rubbish.
“Patriotism is not solely dependent on education in schools. It’s all from home and parents are the models. I enrolled in Chinese primary school, then went to a national school.
“We never had unity problem. Why do we have it now? It all boils down to politics. Politicians are using racial emotions to seek support. There are also some brainless people in the Chinese schools associations who should be blamed.
“We must prove to the outside world that we are united, without burying the culture and identity of others,” suggests Michelle.