Cabinet nods for introduction of khat to Year Four students next year

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 8, (Bernama) — The Cabinet has approved the introduction of khat (a form of Malay-Arabic calligraphy) in Bahasa Melayu subject for Year Four students in vernacular schools to be implemented as planned from next year.

When announcing the decision here today, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the introduction of khat would be contained in three pages of the Bahasa Melayu textbook.

The Cabinet also decided that the introduction of khat will be made optional, with teachers having the power to decide on their own methods of implementation, he said.

The minister said the Cabinet also agreed that the students’ knowledge and skills in khat calligraphy would not be tested in any test or examinations.

He said the Cabinet, in its meeting yesterday, had looked into all input and feedback, including news reports made on the issue over the past week.

The MOE (Ministry of Education) really hopes that with the Cabinet’s decision, the issue on the introduction of khat will not be inaccurately sensationalised again to the extent of causing public confusion, he said.

Maszlee said the MOE would, from time to time, continue holding engagement sessions with all quarters for the benefits of the national education system.

He said the introduction of khat was mainly aimed at introducing the Malay heritage to the students as khat calligraphy and Jawi script were practically no stranger to the people in the country.

The MOE will only introduce the students to what is already close to them, such as the khat and Jawi script found on the Coat of Arms of Malaysia and the states, on banknotes, on the Declaration of Independence, or on the Royal Malaysia Police logo, he said.

This is not about Arabication or Islamisation. It’s about introducing our children to the culture and history of Bahasa Melayu. It’s about respecting the existing culture and heritage.

Khat will not be a subject, but only activity within the Bahasa Melayu subject, Maszlee added.

Asked whether teachers would face action if they refused to teach khat in their classes, the minister said, it was totally up to the teachers.

We don’t want to force people. We want people to learn each others’ language and appreciate the history of the nation, he said.

Prior to this, Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching announced the introduction of the use of Jawi script in textbooks in all schools including national-type Chinese and Tamil schools.

Last Saturday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the introduction of khat in the Year Four Bahasa Melayu subject can go ahead and that the objection is only from a small segment of society.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)