We’ll follow national education policy, including on khat, says Sabah

Sabah Assistant Education and Innovation Minister Jenifer Lasimbang. (Gambar Facebook)

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will not object to the decision made by the education ministry to introduce khat (Jawi calligraphy) in vernacular schools nationwide.

Speaking at a press conference here today, Assistant Education and Innovation Minister Jenifer Lasimbang said Sabah has little say in the matter since education is under the purview of the federal ministry.

“Whatever the decision in terms of policy, we have to listen to the directives from the federal education ministry,” she said after attending the 6th Malaysian International Conference on Academic Strategies in English Language Teaching (MyCASELT) and the 3rd Language Invention, Innovation & Design (LIID) Exposition 2019.

She acknowledged that the issue has not been completely resolved yet as there are still some quarters against it.

This is despite the ministry’s decision to reduce the number of pages introducing khat to only three and allowing the schools’ teacher-parent associations (PIBG) to have the final say whether the school will teach the subject or not.

Nevertheless, Lasimbang said Sabah should not be dragged into the debate, especially because the state is well-known for its racial harmony.

“I went to a Chinese school even though I am a Kadazan. When I was in school, I had no problem looking at Chinese scripts.

“When it comes to education, we have to be objective. Not everything is related to religion.”

She advised those against the policy to think of it as an opportunity to learn a new “language” instead of being overly emotional.

Besides, she said khat is only an art form and the children will get to learn something different from what they are used to.

“This is not new. Many have studied Jawi before. So, the state will follow the national education policy; simple as that,” she said.