Anger over Khat Persists

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Education groups and social media users continue to criticise the government’s decision to introduce khat in the Year 4 Bahasa Melayu syllabus next year.

The social media pages of the education ministry and of some DAP leaders who carried a statement from the ministry are still bombarded with thousands of angry comments from those who support and oppose the move.

An official in Putrajaya told FMT it was emphasised at a Cabinet meeting chaired by the deputy prime minister that khat was an option in the syllabus and this was what the education ministry’s statement said.

The government has decided to reduce the number of pages of khat exposure in textbooks and to allow teachers to decide whether to teach the art. It was thought that the compromise would smooth the way to its introduction.

However, many social media users have said students would still have no option if teachers decided to teach khat.

Facebook user Tan See Yunn said: “This is not OPTIONAL! The 3 pages are included in the text book of bahasa!”

Michael Tan Eng Hong said: “How to implement optional for teachers to teach? All you need is the headmaster to instruct the teachers to teach. That’s it. No such thing as optional.”

Some have sought clarification of what “optional” means and a number have demanded the removal of khat from the syllabi of vernacular schools.

Two Chinese education groups, Dong Zong and Jiao Zong, have alleged that elements of religion were involved in khat and said the government’s latest decision did not ease the concerns of non-Muslim communities.

The education ministry has stuck by its decision to introduce khat in national as well as vernacular schools, but Education Minister Maszlee Malik said yesterday it would be only an activity, not a subject by itself.

Chinese and Tamil interest groups have claimed it would not help vernacular school pupils improve their Malay.

Some DAP office bearers at the grassroots are also against the move. – FMT