DAP to seek win-win solution to knotty khat problem

Chan Kok Leong

DAP members stay up way past midnight in search of a solution to the knotty khat issue, at party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, today. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Hasnoor Hussain, August 6, 2019.

DAP will work with the government to find a solution to the khat and Jawi issue that will satisfy all quarters, party sources said, after a nearly five-hour meeting at party headquarters that began yesterday night.

“One of those options is to see whether teachers can given leeway in how to teach the subject,” a source told The Malaysian Insight.

He said it was a touchy issue with the vernacular education proponents and the party wished to find a solution that would satisfy everyone.

The source said most of the party’s federal and state representatives did not have a problem with khat being taught in the vernacular schools “but the party is facing pressures from some NGOs.”

Meanwhile, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng told reporters that the party had a “frank and open discussion” at the meeting that had stretched into the wee hours.

“DAP has agreed that whatever decision we come to it will be by consensus and united. We will manage this issue as a together,” said Lim.

He said the central executive committee heard many views and would issue a statement later today.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng says party members have had a ‘frank and open discussion’ at the meeting that has stretched into the wee hours, today. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Hasnoor Hussain, August 6, 2019.

Tras assemblyman Chow Yu Hui said it was an amicable meeting.

“We gave our views from the grassroots and we agreed that we will let the CEC decide on this matter.

“Please wait for the official statement tomorrow,” said Chow.

DAP leaders and grassroots convened for a meeting after the party appeared split over the issue.

Party leaders such as Lim Kit Siang, Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching and Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong have stood by the Pakatan Harapan government’s decision but grassroots members have raised objections to the plan.

On Sunday, 14 DAP assemblymen issued a statement calling the Education Ministry to call off the plan to introduce khat in vernacular schools.

Meanwhile, a group of 10 Chinese and Tamil educationists said it was opposed to the ministry’s plan.

The group said learning khat would not help non-Malay students master the national language.

Tras assemblyman Chow Yu Hui says it has been agreed at the ‘amicable meeting’ that the central executive committee will decide on the matter of khat and Jawi being taught to vernacular schoolchildren. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Hasnoor Hussain, August 6, 2019.

The National Union of Teaching Profession yesterday said Jawi and khat lessons will inculcate appreciation of Malay heritage and the national identity and that issue should not be blown out of proportion.

Its secretary-general Harry Tan Huat Hock said that since 2011, Year One pupils have been taught to write in Arabic, Chinese and Tamil under the Primary School Curriculum (KSSR).

“It is therefore inappropriate to make it an issue that invites controversy,” he said in a statement.

Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik announced last week that khat and Jawi would be taught as sub-topics in the Year Four Bahasa Melayu syllabus in vernacular schools next year. – August 6, 2019.

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