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Amid khat debate, Sabah DAP says let Sabahans decide for Sabah

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As the DAP central leadership try to placate grassroots leaders over the government's plan to introduce six pages of khat (calligraphy art) lessons in the Year 4 Bahasa Malaysia subject, Sabah DAP wants the matter in Sabah to be left to Sabahans to decide.

"All the while, the DAP has championed the reform of federal institutions and the devolution of powers from the federal government to Sabah and Sarawak.

"Therefore, we ask the federal government to implement promise 44 of the Pakatan Harapan manifesto to devolve the decisions on education and health affairs to Sabah and Sarawak.

"This is because Sabah comprises many unique ethnic groups, languages, customs and culture," Sabah DAP said in a statement today.

The statement was signed two MPs, five assemblypersons and one appointed assemblyperson.

They are Chan Foong Hin (Kota Kinabalu), Vivian Wong Shir Yee (Sandakan), Frankie Poon Ming Fung (Tanjung Papat), Phoong Jin Zhe (Luyang), Jimmy Wong (Sri Tanjung), Tan Lee Fatt (Likas), Calvin Chong (Elopura) and Ronnie Loh (appointed).

Two remaining elected representatives from Sabah DAP, namely Noorita Sual (Tenom) and Jannie Lasimbang (Kapayan), were not signatories to the statement.

Backing DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang's statement, the Sabah DAP elected representatives said they want the various ethnic groups to interact and learn from each other.

"The Chinese are not betraying their own race and culture by learning khat, Malays are not betraying their own race and culture if they learn the Bharata dance and Indians are not betraying their own race when and culture by mastering Chinese calligraphy.

"We are of the opinion that the teaching of language in school should allow students to appreciate the beauty of various languages like Jawi, Chinese calligraphy of artistic patterns of Kadazan Dusun.

"Return to the original intent of education which is to rid of suspicion and distrust among races and strengthen national unity," they said.

The Sabah DAP elected representatives said the federal government should let the state government decide on the matter and it will then incorporate elements from various races, culture and languages.

However, they also noted that there have been grassroots unhappiness over the matter.

"Some DAP elected representatives and branches have opposed this policy and we respect the diversity of positions and views," he said.

The elected representatives said they took cognisance of the unhappiness but will air them internally during DAP's emergency meeting tomorrow.

They also denied claims that Sabah DAP supported the introduction of khat in Bahasa Malaysia subject, saying that not stating their position does not necessarily translate to an endorsement.

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