The limited hours in school should be utilised for the pursuance of practical knowledge, according to former law minister Zaid Ibrahim.
“There are many things students need to learn, so many branches of knowledge to pursue, but why impose?
“We have limited hours in school. It is best we use to study things that are of practical use. Use (your) own time and money to study khat (Jawi calligraphy) and other beautiful things in this world,” he told Malaysiakini this afternoon.
Zaid was commenting on the ongoing debate raging over the Education Ministry's decision to introduce khat in the Year 4 Bahasa Malaysia syllabus for vernacular schools.
Previously, Education Minister Maszlee Malik (below) said the move was not aimed at "establishing Islamisation in vernacular schools."
In addition to fostering a beautiful writing style, the minister also said the introduction of khat would enable students to recognise the country's heritage and identity.
Quizzed on the minister's rationale for introducing khat, Zaid replied: “Ministers in Pakatan Harapan like to show they know better, their patriotism so-called, and their cultural preference.”
“And they like to show power, that is why they like to impose. Little do they realise that the things they impose are not really followed, except superficially,” he added.
It takes courage to defend this multiracial country
In a Twitter posting earlier, Zaid, who is a DAP member, had likened the compulsory study of khat or calligraphy in whatever form in school to “asking Italian students to study Latin.”
In a subsequent post, the former minister said it takes courage to defend this multiracial nation.
“If our politics is to appease right-wing Malay emotions, then we might as well join the group and don’t pretend that we bring new hope for the country.
“It takes courage to defend this multiracial country. Don't kid yourself that you can give Harapan,” he added.
Last Saturday, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad insisted that the introduction of khat would proceed as planned next year.
"We have never objected to other writings (including) in Chinese, as this is something special in our country.
"Chinese language writings are not allowed in other countries such as Indonesia, for instance, (and in) the Philippines and Thailand, they use their own (language) writings,” he added.
The premier also said only a small segment of society was opposed to the move.