Sarawak party rides khat debate, calls for education autonomy

SUPP Youth leader Michael Tiang.

KUCHING: The Sarawak United Peoples’ Party has urged the federal government to give the state full autonomy over education policy following a decision to introduce lessons on khat calligraphy in vernacular primary schools.

The party’s youth wing leader, Michael Tiang, said there was no practical reason for pupils to learn khat calligraphy.

“SUPP is not against learning the art of writing the Jawi script. The party is against the idea of introducing khat calligraphy in the Year 4 Bahasa Melayu syllabus in vernacular schools next year.

“Why burden our primary school pupils with something that will not equip them for this digital era?”

Tiang said school children must be well-versed in the English language and equipped with computer programming skills.

He said Singapore and Thailand had announced plans to introduce computer programming in kindergarten and primary schools, as part of a push towards digital transformation.

“Why does our Ministry of Education have no such plans? This further affirms our party’s insistence that Sarawak have full autonomy over its education policy so the state government can prepare Sarawakians for the digital era,” he said.

Tiang said Sarawakians were not happy with the constant flip-flops in education policy.

He said the people had voted for Pakatan Harapan because they wanted transformation in terms of the country’s economy, integrity and welfare.

“It’s definitely not about replacing white shoes with black ones or introducing khat calligraphy in the Bahasa Melayu syllabus while ignoring the practical needs of this digital era.”