Ministry: 'Khat' decision stands, appears even on banknotes

Modified 5 Aug 2019, 11:55 pm

The Education Ministry will proceed with the introduction of a khat calligraphy segment for the Standard 4 Bahasa Malaysia syllabus next year as planned.

In a statement today, the ministry said khat was an integral part of Malaysia's national identity and Bahasa Malaysia which was the national language and the language of unity.

"Apart from this, this form of writing appears on the coat of arms for Malaysia and her respective states. It also appears on Malaysian banknotes.

"The ministry is committed to building a Malaysia which is well-versed in the nation's traditions," said the ministry.

The introduction of khat said the ministry was decided in 2014 and many language and education experts were consulted.

KiniGuide: How much 'khat' is in the BM syllabus and other questions answered

Khat lessons will take up six out of 164 pages of the new Bahasa Malaysia Standard 4 textbook next year.

However, the move has proven divisive.

Chinese and Tamil education groups have voiced disapproval on grounds that it would create additional workload for vernacular school students.

A group of 138 DAP branch and division leaders, along with 11 state assemblypersons, have protested against the move on grounds that it would institutionalise and politicise the Jawi script.

Citing the mandatory use of Jawi script on signboards in Kelantan and Terengganu, the group said similar measures were being institutionalised in Pahang and Malacca.

"This is manifesting in many ways [...] once Chinese and Tamil schools add khat to the curriculum, it will be a case of 'the boiling frog'.

"Those with an agenda might seize the opportunity to introduce Jawi at all levels [...] Should Jawi be institutionalised, it will tear apart Malaysia's social fabric," said the group.

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