Education ministry sticks to khat move

Education Minister Maszlee Malik speaks at a press conference in Putrajaya today.

PUTRAJAYA: The education ministry today stood by its decision to implement khat in vernacular schools, nearly a week after Putrajaya said the Malay-Arabic calligraphy would be made part of the Year 4 Bahasa Melayu syllabus beginning next year.

Education Minister Maszlee Malik said that khat would only be an activity, not a subject in itself, taking up three pages of the textbook.

He also said it would be up to teachers to decide how they want to teach it.

“Khat will go ahead, but will not be included in examinations or tests,” he said at a special press conference here which was also attended by his deputy Teo Nie Ching.

“We hope that with the Cabinet’s decision on khat, the issue will not be raised anymore and create any misunderstanding.”

The move to introduce khat was met with protest from some, including Chinese and Tamil interest groups who said it would not help vernacular school students increase their standard of Malay.

Segments of DAP grassroots office bearers were also against the move.

The ministry previously said that plans to introduce khat – which it called an integral part of Malaysia’s national identity – had been around since 2014.

When asked if students could choose not to learn khat, Maszlee said it would be up to the teacher.

On Sabah and Sarawak’s opposition to khat, Maszlee said the states are part of the country.

“So according to the constitution, education is a federal matter,” he said, reiterating that the move to implement khat is merely a continuation of the decision by the previous administration.