My paper with Dr. Chin Yee Mun, Chairman of Tun Tan Cheng Lock Centre for Social and Policy Studies, is featured in this Volume 24 of the Journal of Malaysian Chinese Studies.
The Malaysian government’s move to introduce Jawi-Khat in the Malay Language curriculum in Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools has been met with much tension and controversy. Being the second largest ethnic group in the country, the Chinese Malaysians’ response to this initiative, to some extent, has generated implications to the socio-political order of this country. In general, they have reacted negatively to the initiative, but their opposition to the move was quick to draw displeasure from members of the Malay community, who mostly supported it. Sin Chew Daily – the first newspaper to break the news – was also accused of stirring fears among the Chinese community. Such an accusation and the manner in which the whole Jawi-Khat move unfolded have raised questions over the roles of the Chinese newspapers, in reporting a policy that impacts on an area concerning the Chinese community the most – Chinese education. Thus, this study sets out to examine the ways in which three leading Chinese newspapers in Malaysia, namely, Sin Chew Daily, China Press and See Hua Daily News, reported on this racially-sensitive issue. The news sources, news frames and valence of the reports were analysed. The research findings reveal that the Chinese newspapers were merely performing their role as a platform for discourse on an issue considered to be vital to the Chinese community in the country. The Chinese newspapers were also law-abiding, created room for disagreement and attempted to de-escalate the Chinese community’s dissatisfaction over the Jawi-Khat issue.
The journal is available in hardcopy. More information about it can be found here.
This is the second part of the “Jawi-Khat project” I took on in year 2019.
Part 1 of the project, entitled “Framing Jawi-Khat Move: A Comparative Analysis of Chinese, English and Malay-Language Newspapers in Malaysia“, has been published in UKM’s Jurnal Komunikasi: Malaysian Journal of Communication.