DAP members told to toe the line over khat controversy

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng told members they should not act like the opposition, says a party leader.

PETALING JAYA: A DAP leader says party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has warned members against “acting like the opposition” following the controversy over the introduction of khat calligraphy in the Year 4 Bahasa Melayu syllabus in vernacular schools next year.

The leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that during a special meeting last night to discuss the issue, Lim said he was unhappy with a group of lawmakers from the party “who basically whacked the policy”.

“To him, it put the party in a very difficult situation,” the leader told FMT.

“He reminded us that (since) we are now in government, we have to behave like the government and adjust ourselves from years of being in the opposition.

“This means to say, we’ve got to remember we are in a coalition, and in a coalition we have to take care of what happens to the rest of our partners.”

He said the party MPs and assemblymen were reminded that their actions would have repercussions on Pakatan Harapan as a whole.

The leader also said Lim described it as the “biggest crisis for DAP” since it wrested federal power with its PH partners, and the party can no longer just “issue statements, whack and criticise” without taking into account the overall stand of PH.

“They must consider other communities now and not just the Chinese,” he said. “Guan Eng took note that this was a non-issue to the Malays and the English educated Chinese.”

According to the leader, Lim said some party leaders had, in recent days, acted in a way “that made it seem like that they were against Jawi itself, which shouldn’t have been the case”.

He said Lim told them the strengthening of the command of the national language in schools should always be welcome.

“While he acknowledged the right of members to express themselves, he said it must be done in a way not to jeopardise unity and put the party in a bad light.”

The leader said no conclusion was reached last night on what DAP’s official stance on the khat issue would be, only a consensus that the party would allow the leadership to make a stand.

Among the proposals put forward, he said, was deferring the implementation entirely, implementing it in stages, and introducing it in secondary schools instead.

One leader said if the idea was to allow students to appreciate the identity of the Malay culture, then what was provided in the proposal for khat implementation was not “good enough, pointless and half-baked”.

“The options will be put before the prime minister and we’ve got to wait for him to decide,” the leader said.

FMT has reached out to Lim for his comments.