Khat fury keeps DAP leaders up till late

DAP leaders including secretary-general Lim Guan Eng in a meeting over the khat controversy tonight. (Facebook pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Senior leaders of the DAP, faced with community fury over khat (Jawi calligraphy) lessons in vernacular schools, were holding a meeting late into the night at party headquarters tonight.

Party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, vice-chairman Gobind Singh Deo, national organising secretary Anthony Loke., international affairs secretary Teo Nie Ching, strategist Liew Chin Tong, and state assembly members Chow Yu Hui, Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji, and Abdul Aziz Bari were among those at the meeting.

Lim said in a late-night posting that there had been fears raised that the character and identity of Chinese and Tamil schools would be affected.

He blamed the Sin Chew Daily for inflaming community fears.

“I am listening to the views of party elected representatives, community activists and I have also met the Prime Minister and Education Minister today. Will issue a formal statement later,” he said.

The Education Ministry has said it would introduce lessons on khat (the calligraphic form of Jawi) as part of the Bahasa Melayu syllabus for Year 4 pupils in vernacular schools.

Educationists and others associated with Chinese and Tamil schools have raised objections, while the issue has inflamed feelings among grassroot members of the DAP.

Earlier today, the national teachers’ union said khat lessons had been introduced in 2015 as part of the Year 5 Bahasa Melayu syllabus for national schools, while Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said that she would have further discussions on the issue with the Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Mahathir has said that the introduction of khat lessons in vernacular schools would go ahead as objections had been raised by only a small minority.