Khat will be introduced next year, insists Dr M

PETALING JAYA: The government is to go ahead with its decision to introduce the study of khat (jawi calligraphic script) in the Year 4 Bahasa Melayu syllabus next year, despite pockets of protest.

The prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said the government had never prevented other communities from using the written script of their language, and this was among the qualities that made the country special.

“No one is allowed to write in Chinese in other countries, including the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand,” he said when asked about the matter at a townhall in Melaka here this evening.

His remarks come a day after the education ministry defended its decision to introduce khat (jawi calligraphic script) as a segment of the Year 4 Bahasa Melayu subject syllabus.

The decision raised criticism and protests. Among those who protested were members of DAP, one of the parties in the Pakatan Harapan ruling coalition.

Mahathir, who is Pakatan Harapan chairman, said it would be odd if the DAP said khat should not be allowed to be taught as it was an art form. “But it’s only one segment of DAP members who is against this (the introduction of khat), so I think we can go ahead.”

Some 138 DAP grassroots officials, including 13 state assemblymen, have urged DAP ministers to object to the plans for khat. Earlier today, Malaysiakini reported that DAP leaders would meet on Monday and explain the plan to introduce khat in Chinese vernacular schools.

Chinese educationist groups Dong Zong and Jiao Zong are also against the move, saying it would further burden students and teachers.

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