Saturday, August 10, 2019


While this may not be the time to focus on the change from RUMI to JAWI as we have far more crucial matters with regards to education, but to out rightly deny JAWI as part of our history and tradition shows a poor and shallow understanding of our history. We did not pop out of the ocean in 1957 and 1963. We have a history. JAWI is part of it. Prior to late 1960s, we were using JAWI - even for beer advertisements! I remember my late father who was able to read the English and Jawi newspapers.

To me it was a mistake to change into RUMI as JAWI is a more superior written tool in delivering not just the Malay language, but many other. Furthermore, most of us are completely unable to go through our manuscripts that was written in JAWI that spans almost 800 years. Imagine, we cannot read our nation's history!

I have written several times about why we must look at our history inclusively. Let me paste a few here.


" We have been a nation for more than 50 (now 62) years. Yet we have not agreed on our history. We are like the six blind men and the elephant. Each one sees history narrowly instead of seeing it as a whole.

To move forward we need to agree on our history. We need to accept certain fundamentals and understand how we have evolved to be who we are today.

We need to look at history from a larger perspective and use wisdom to accept our history whether it suits our liking or not. We have to look at the facts. We need to form a history with truth as a guide. To do that, we need to ponder these questions.

When and where does our history start?

What is the importance of the Proto-Malays to our history?

How have the early Hindu and Buddhist influences affected our history?

What are the significances of Old Kedah Sultanate and the evolution of all the other Malay sultanates?

What is the role of Islam in shaping the Malay sultanates, culture, and traditions?

How did the Portuguese, Dutch, British, and Japanese colonisation affect us; especially the British era leading up to the formation of our modern nation?

What about the history of Sabah and Sarawak? How do they form a part of our current history?

Where do we place the history of ordinary folks, every community; be they the majority or the minorities?

Why did 1957 and 1963 happen? What is the meaning of 1957 and 1963? How do 1957 and 1963 colour our recent history?

What does our Constitution say about our historical framework? How does our Constitution capture our history and make it into a social contract for us to create new history?

We are who we are today because of our shared history. To live in peace and progress, we need to agree on a shared history and understand it. Only then we can create a better and united future.

As we reflect on history, we are still creating it. In creating history, we must decide what we want for our children and our children’s children. Our decision today will create our tomorrow. Let us be wise.


" It is crucial that we do not hold a myopic and naïve view that our nation simply emerged out of the blue in 1957 and thereafter in 1963 without accepting and appreciating its long illustrious history that spans thousands of years. This attitude will rob and negate the history of the land and its people.

To do so, one will need to pretend that everything about Semenanjung Tanah Melayu before 1957 and Sabah and Sarawak prior to 1963 as irrelevant. This is the main obstacle in putting together a balanced, fair and truly inclusive national history and consequently impacting how we see and interact with each other as its people.

What must we do?

1. Understand, accept, absorb and immerse our history wholeheartedly from the beginning of human migration to our evolution: from hunter-gatherers who practiced animism, shamanism and ancestor worship to the time when we were Hindus, Buddhists and the last many hundreds of years till the present, Islam as our main narratives. When we do these with vigor, we will be able to appreciate how our early beliefs, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and even Christianity have left socio-religious and cultural imprints towards our ways of life and common shared values today.

2. Look at our national history in at least in two main parts. Firstly, our history before 1957 and 1963, the Malay World, the history about the people of Malay Archipelago that includes the Orang Asli and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak – which rightly has to be Malay-Centric. At the same time, we must accept that the immigration history of our people from the east and the west is as real as the Malay-Centric experience and forms part of our national history, too. Secondly, our modern history that starts at 1957 and expanded, gained depth and breadth in 1963 when Malaysia was born. Our new history as its people.

3. Hold our constitution as the just and balanced center of reference that connects the dots to our past, present and the future. The constitutional provisions recognize the special position of the Malays and other natives the Orang Asli, Sabahans and Sarawakians while at the same time the rights and legitimate interests of the other communities. Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony.

Without constitutional provisions to ensure that their interests are protected, natives across the world will be helpless against the demand for ‘equality’ because the descendants of the colonial and immigrant communities tend to have a bigger advantage. Equality in the loose sense will favor the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor and weak be it for economic justice or in drawing the historical chronicles of the people."

As for Khat, keep it at the ART class. When the Non-Muslims are trained to write Khat, get them to express their own religion using it. In 50 years time, Malaysia will be the center of the most beautiful Khat centre that not only produces Islamic, but also Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh and perhaps even Indigenous Religion Khat artwork.


Anas Zubedy 
Malaysian Movement For Moderates

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