PETALING JAYA: The Cabinet discussed at length the issue of khat or Jawi calligraphy being taught in schools during its weekly meeting on Wednesday (Aug 14), say sources.
The sources further said that every member of the Cabinet was asked to give their opinion on the issue of khat being introduced in the Bahasa Melayu syllabus for Year Four pupils.
"There were other issues discussed but Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad listened intently to every minister who had something to say on the khat issue.
"Education Minister Maszlee Malek also listened to everyone and gave his full cooperation in hearing all views, especially those opposed to teaching khat in school, deeming it as part of Islamisation, " said the source.
"The whole discussion on khat in schools was very amicable and friendly, " said the source.
Several ministers also raised the issue of polarising figure Zakir Naik, whose presence has created racial tension in Malaysia and want the Indian preacher booted out the country.
"There was much opposition to Zakir crossing the boundaries of pitting Malaysians against Malaysians from various ministers from all parties. The Prime Minister agreed to do something about it and said that he noted the discontent and it is an issue that he will decide on very soon, " said the source.
Cabinet meetings are held weekly for the ministers to meet the Prime Minister and iron out issues.
The khat issue has become heavily debated after the Education Ministry announced its plan to implement the art of writing the Jawi script for primary school pupils.
The syllabus is planned to start next year as part of the Year Four Bahasa Melayu subject, although students will not be tested on their skill in writing khat.
On the other hand, Zakir has allegedly made inflammatory statements about Malaysian Hindus and Chinese.
He is wanted in India over corruption charges but he was not deported, with certain parties saying that the charges were trumped-up.
Dr Mahathir has since admitted that Malaysia was in a catch-22 situation as Zakir was "an unwelcome guest Malaysia can't send away".