Inappropriate to label Dong Zong as ‘racist’ over khat, says Sarawak DAP

Sarawak DAP vice-chairman Wong King Wei says Dr Mahathir Mohamad should address the concerns of the Chinese community over the introduction of khat.

KUCHING: Sarawak DAP has criticised Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad for labelling Chinese education group Dong Zong as “racists”, describing his statement as “inappropriate”.

Its vice-chairman Wong King Wei said the Chinese community had the right to raise their concerns in regard to the introduction of khat in the Year 4 Bahasa Melayu syllabus for vernacular schools next year.

“Mahathir should not label them as racist. Instead, he should listen and address their concerns,” Wong, who is also the Padungan assemblyman, said in a statement today.

He said Mahathir should be a prime minister for all under the spirit of a new Malaysia.

“The old way of doing things should not be continued,” he said.

Yesterday, Mahathir, when responding to a question on Dong Zong’s petition against the introduction of khat in vernacular schools, labelled the group as racist.

He also questioned why Dong Zong did not complain when the previous administration had approved the move in 2012.

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

Mahathir also said Dong Zong had also previously rejected the government’s idea to set up the Sekolah Wawasan where Chinese, Tamil and national schools are placed in a single campus.

“They are scared their children will mix with Malays, so they don’t like Malays, they oppose everything, they never agree with anything,” he said after an event in Langkawi.