Khat continues to be a hot topic

Dr Maszlee Malik

PUTRAJAYA: A day after Education Minister Dr Mazlee Malik’s assurance that schoolchildren will not be tested on their khat writing skill,the introduction of the Jawi calligraphy continues to be the hot subject among politicians.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the government took note of the concerns of the public on the matter,especially among the Chinese community.

She said there would be a deep discussion on the matter with the Prime Minister even though Dr Mahathir Mohamad had already made a statement.

“Although a decision has been made,the government is aware of the concerns being raised in public.

“Khat is a form of art. It has nothing to do with religion,” she said after launching a sexual harassment awareness campaign here yesterday.

The announcement by the Education Ministry that the introduction of khat would be taught as part of the Bahasa Melayu subject for Year Four pupils from next year caused an uproar with many saying it would burden the pupils.

Dr Mahathir had said that the decision would go ahead next year,adding that the objections were only by a small segment of society.

Mazlee on Sunday said Jawi calligraphy form would not be part of any examinations.

Sabah PKR,however,thinks that the Education Ministry should just make khat an optional subject instead of forcing pupils to learn it.

Its chief Datuk Christina Liew said there were already so many heavy subjects for pupils,adding that another compulsory subject like khat would be unnecessary.

“If the pupils and parents themselves want and agree to learn khat,then they should be allowed to,but for those who do not want to or are not interested,don’t force them,” she said in Kota Kinabalu.

Liew said like the Chinese calligraphy,it was something fun and interesting to learn if the person enjoys it.

Perak MCA Youth chief Daniel Wa said they were not against learning khat but it should not be made compulsory.

“They could have gotten opinions from educational NGOs first before deciding on it.

“They could have also made it into an elective subject,instead of putting it in the syllabus,” he said,adding that there was a general concern in the Chinese community as to what the government could force the people to do next.

“They said pupils will not be tested but what if they decide to hold quizzes two years later?” he said.

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