Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P Waythamoothy has denied sending Malaysiakini a statement in which he disagreed with teaching of khat in Tamil schools.
In a strongly-worded email to Malaysiakini, his senior private secretary Alan Kirupakaran denied the quotes attributed to the minister in the report.
“We deem your report to be false and ill-intended,” he said.
In the email, the aide claimed Waythamoorthy did not issue any statement, nor spoke to any reporters from Malaysiakini on the matter.
As such, Waythamoorthy’s department is calling for the report in question to be withdrawn.
Contrary to the latter’s claim, a press release attributed to the minister by one of his aides was emailed to Malaysiakini at 4.42pm yesterday.
The email, titled “Press Release by YB Pon Waytha Moorthy” and written in Tamil, was sent by one Nakkeeran.
The latter, whose real name is Subramaniam, is attached to Waythamoorthy’s office, handles communications with the Tamil language press, and sends press statements to other media outlets, such as Malaysiakini.
In the press statement dated Aug 11, and mostly emailed to Tamil news outlets, the minister stated he disagreed with the introduction of khat in vernacular schools.
It was stated that the comments were made by Waythamoorthy, who is also president of newly launched Malaysian Advancement Party (MAP), in an interview with a Bernama Tamil news programme.
Malaysiakini has checked the minister’s statement with the interview published on Facebook yesterday and found them to be the same.
When contacted, an aide to Waythamoorthy said the statement was only intended for the Tamil press.
The original email by Nakkeeran is reproduced below.
The full email has been translated into English here:
Disagreement over the introduction of khat/Jawi
Minister P Waythamoorthy
Kuala Lumpur, Aug 11
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P Waythmoorthy has said that he disagrees with the introduction of khat / Jawi calligraphy in vernacular schools.
(He said that) a majority of cabinet members disagreed with the move. Furthermore, they did not have time to discuss the matter as the announcement was made unexpectedly.
“There are many things we can teach our students in this new age. There are many things for them to learn.
“Therefore, for me, the introduction of khat in Tamil school students is unnecessary,” said Waythamoorthy, who is also the president of MAP, in an interview with Bernama’s Tamil segment.
“Many Malaysian students these days are highly educated and have graduated. But at the same time, we are dealing with unemployment issues.
“Teaching them coding will help them learn how to run businesses and trade in the daily lives,” said Waythamoorthy.
“The teaching of khat in Tamil schools is not realistic. At a time when they are a lot of complaints that the education system is burdening students.
“The government should instead find ways to reduce their burden, and ensure our education system is reformed so that students are comfortable with the system,” said Waythamoorthy, who is the (de facto) national unity and social wellbeing minister.