LANGKAWI: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has labelled Chinese educationist group Dong Zong “racist” over the khat issue.
The group, the Prime Minister said, frequently protests all of the government’s education policies, including introducing khat in primary schools.
The Langkawi MP said the organisation had previously opposed setting up Sekolah Wawasan (Vision Schools) at primary level which include national schools, Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools.
He added that Dong Zong's objection was because they did not want their children to mix with the Malays.
He said this in response to Dong Zong's allegations that the government is introducing Jawi calligraphy in primary schools as a form of Islamisation.
Dr Mahathir questioned why Dong Zong was only protesting the plans to introduce khat now.
"This matter was approved in 2012 by the previous government. Why does Dong Zong not complain at the time? Why is it a ‘new’ complaint now?
"Now that we have made the decision, if they do not want to take up (the subject), they will not have to do so, " he was reported by Sinar Harian as saying this during a function at Padang Mat Sirat mosque here on Monday (Aug 12).
Dr Mahathir also sarcastically said he would ask for Klang MP Charles Santiago’s approval for future decisions.
"In the future, when I want to make a decision, I will ask Charles first, whether or not I can do it.
"If I can get his view, he is the same level (setaraf) as me, " Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying.
Santiago had said in an earlier statement that Dr Mahathir had too much power and that he had been making unilateral decisions for the people at a troubling frequency.
Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik had announced the teaching of khat in the Bahasa Melayu curriculum for Year Four in Chinese and Tamil primary schools next year.
Maszlee had said after a Cabinet meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail that upon taking some considerations into account, it was decided that khat would be taught in the schools but reduced from six to three pages.
The minister reiterated that there would not be any form of test, assessment or exam in the learning of khat.
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