Now a petition against khat on religious grounds

PETALING JAYA: A petition against the teaching of khat (Jawi calligraphy) in vernacular schools is being organised by the Chinese schools movement (Dong Zhong), it was reported today.

The petition, which will also be supported by Tamil education groups, is being organised on the grounds that “research by some scholars and literary experts” had shown that khat had been used as a medium to spread Islam, according to Dong Zhong chairman Tan Tai Kim.

Dong Zhong is the Chinese name of the United Chinese School Committees Association.

He was quoted in a Malaysiakini report as saying that it was unacceptable for non-Muslim students to be introduced to khat, which he said was a violation of constitutional rights on religion.

The petition will call for the education ministry to only retain the introduction of khat alongside Chinese and Tamil writings for the Standard 5 Bahasa Malaysia syllabus.

The education ministry has announced that plans to introduce six pages of khat lessons in the Standard 4 Bahasa Malaysia textbook next year had been revised. Only three pages would be introduced, and khat lessons would be optional.

Education Minister Maszlee Malik has denied that introducing khat was a form of Islamisation, while other political leaders including Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and DAP leader Lim Kit Siang have said that khat was an art form and non-religious.