The Melaka government's instruction that the jawi script be used on signboards of premises and billboards should be followed by others so as to preserve the script which has been a part of the identity of the Malays as well as the nation for so long.
Academicians, members of non-governmental organisations and ministry officials agree that the move, introduced early this month, should be imitated not just to ensure that the jawi script is preserved but it would also be an added aesthetic tourism attraction in Malacca.
However, Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron is in no hurry to enforce the ruling as he wants it to be a lasting venture.
"We cannot introduce a ruling today and expect it to be enforced tomorrow. If that happens, I do not expect it to last long," he told Bernama.
Idris said at present, the relevant authorities were in the process of identifying the parties involved, problems which may arise and gathering feedback from the public.
"An instruction usually takes about three or four months before it becomes a ruling, so we shall see after this period and decide on the appropriate action after that," he said.
Deputy Minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, Datuk Halimah Mohd Sadique, said the Melaka government's initiative was in line with her ministry's in preserving urban heritage.
She said jawi was an important heritage which must be appreciated by all parties especially the younger generation so that it may be preserved for the future.
Former director of the Academy of Malay Studies, Universiti Malaya, Datuk Zainal Abidin Borhan also reminded all parties not to view the initiative in a racist light but as an attempt to preserve the heritage of Malaysians.
"It is true that the jawi script is synonymous with the Malays but it has been widely used in the Malay archipelago for hundreds of years. In terms of spelling, it is the same as the romanised version and the only difference is the appearance of the script," he said.
Datuk Zainal Abidin, who is also the first secretary of the Coalition National Writers Associations (Gapena), said any objections to the initiative should be addressed with thorough and valid explanations so that all Malaysians understand the importance of the effort.
Head of the Melaka Malaysian Muslims Alliance, Amru Iskandar Burhan said the initiative could shape the identity of the Malay Muslims in Malaysia, especially among the younger generation and revive the culture of Malay Muslims which had been sidelined.
"We hope this effort is supported and abided by all parties so that the illiteracy towards the Al-Quran script is lessened, especially among the younger generation," he said. – Bernama, January 11, 2014.