Malaysians urged to move past khat issue

Lim hopes the Cabinet’s decision to make the art form not compulsory but optional will allow the people to move forward


THE Cabinet’s decision to make the teaching of khat optional in vernacular schools beginning next year “will not please everyone”, but Malaysians should move forward from it, said DAP secretary general Lim Guan Eng.

“This decision by the Cabinet yesterday (Wednesday) that the introduction of khat or Jawi illustrations will be made optional, will not please everyone including those from the non-Malay community, who requested that the implementation be deferred pending consultation with all the stakeholders in Chinese and Tamil primary schools.

“However, the Cabinet’s decision yesterday that it is not compulsory, but optional and not to be tested in exams, would hopefully allow Malaysians to move forward,” Lim, who is also finance minister said in a statement yesterday.

Malaysians from all walks of life, he said, should work together to understand each others’ concerns and aspirations.

“Let us work together with full respect for diversity and appreciation for each other’s differences that makes us stronger and more successful,” he said.

Lim said the DAP leadership had an open discussion with its elected representatives earlier this week, and the outcome was presented during the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

He said the unhappiness of the non-Malay community and educationists in Chinese and Tamil primary schools stemmed from what was seen by them as a unilateral decision taken by the Ministry of Education (MoE), without any prior consultation with the stakeholders.

“This has led to general suspicion and a trust deficit from the stakeholders in Chinese and Tamil primary schools that there is a hidden agenda by the MoE,” he said.

Lim noted that MoE Minister Dr Maszlee Malik had denied the allegation, as the new syllabus was formulated and decided by the previous government.

Earlier yesterday, Maszlee announced that the teachers at vernacular schools will be given the freedom on whether to teach khat or not, and that it would only take up three pages instead of six pages in the Bahasa Malaysia’s textbook for Standard Four pupil beginning next year.

“The Cabinet made a decision to give teachers the power to decide how they want to teach,” Maszlee said, reiterating that there would be no tests or assessments on this module.

The MoE in a statement also said the Cabinet’s decision on the introduction of khat would not be raised and used to mislead the public.

The ministry would continue to discuss with all stakeholders for the betterment of Malaysia’s education system, it said.