Guan Eng to raise khat issue at Cabinet meeting again

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng says he will bring up feedback on the khat issue to his Cabinet colleagues.

PETALING JAYA: DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng says he will again propose to review the implementation of khat in the Year 4 Bahasa Melayu syllabus at the coming Cabinet meeting.

In a statement, Lim, who is also the finance minister, said this initiative was not linked to reports of a fellow minister’s purported remarks that many in the Cabinet disagreed with the introduction of khat in Chinese and Tamil schools.

He said that at last week’s Cabinet meeting, it was agreed that the introduction of khat was not compulsory, that the topic will be reduced from six to three pages in the textbook and that there will be no examination.

“DAP ministers had voiced in the Cabinet meeting last week the strong sentiments of the non-Malay community that were unhappy with the education ministry for proceeding with the implementation when it was done without prior consultation with stakeholders of Chinese and Tamil primary schools.

“Following this latest development and further consultations and feedback from the public, I will raise the matter up again in Cabinet this week,” he said.

Last week, the education ministry stood by its decision to introduce khat, although the minister Maszlee Malik said khat lessons would only be an activity, taking up only three pages of the BM textbook, and that there would be no tests.

The move to introduce khat has been met with protest from some, including Chinese and Tamil educationists, who said it would not help vernacular school students improve their Malay language skills.

Some DAP grassroots members have also opposed the move, while Chinese and Tamil education groups have launched a petition against the teaching of khat on grounds that it has been used as a medium to spread Islam.