Ensuring that all Malaysians can master Bahasa Malaysia should be made a priority rather than debating “trivial issues” such as the teaching of Jawi or khat, according to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim (photo, above).
“We can’t question the status of the Malay language. It is important to uphold its status as the national language.
“After that if we want to improve use if other languages, that is allowed. It is not a zero-sum game,” Anwar told reporters in Shah Alam today.
“With that (focus on mastering BM) other smaller issues, like khat and Jawi, becomes trivial,” said the Port Dickson MP after delivering a speech at the first Malaysian Professional Motivator Convention.
Anwar was quick to add he did not disagree with the Education Ministry’s revised plan to introduce khat lessons for Year 4 vernacular school students.
“I didn’t say I did not support it. For me, the priority is to strengthen mastery of the language.
“There is no compromise on that,” he stressed.
Anwar further urged more Malays to step away from their comfort zone and be more open to learning other languages to bring about change.
Earlier in his speech, Anwar said he remains unapologetic for his views advocating the importance of English and Mandarin, on top of mastering the Malay language.
He said while the Malay language should form the core cultural identity of Malaysians, English and Mandarin are languages of the economy and other important fields.
KUALA LUMPUR – The Cabinet has decided to go ahead with the introduction of Jawi khat, which has been renamed as the introduction of Jawi writing. However, its implementation in Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (SJK) vernacular schools must obtain the approval of Parents and Teachers Association (PTA), parents and students of the schools.
In respond to the announcement, a total of 15 PTAs and the Tamil school Board of Governors (LPS) from the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur have decided to reject the implementation of Jawi in their respective schools.
The group had unanimously rejected the introduction of Jawi in Tamil schools, which they alleged, will not be beneficial. On the contrary, the group said that the Ministry of Education should focus on other more important matters.
The spokesperson who is also the Chairman of LPS, M Vetrivelan told MalaysiaGazette that they were shocked by the ministry’s proposal which they alleged had faltered from its original objectives of strengthening the national education system.
SIBU: A group of individuals gathered in front of the Federal Complex building here yesterday to protest against the introduction of khat or Jawi calligraphy to Year 4 pupils in all schools next year.
One member, Winston Wong How Cheng, said the demonstration might continue if the outcome of the cabinet meeting yesterday was not favourable.
“We come here as individuals. We are not from any political party or organisation. We are individuals who are concerned about this issue.
Another protester, Joseph Chieng, said the federal government’s decision to implement khat is ‘unacceptable’, especially for the people of Sarawak.
PETALING JAYA: The Cabinet has decided that khat lessons will be renamed Jawi and will be introduced in the syllabus for Year 4 primary school pupils in vernacular schools, despite the backlash from various groups.
However, it will be optional and will not be a test subject.
The education ministry said in a statement that the lessons would be called “Jawi script” instead of “khat”.
The Cabinet today also agreed that Jawi would only be introduced in vernacular or Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (SJK) schools with the prior agreement of the parent-teacher associations (PIBG) and other parents of pupils.
“It will only be introduced optionally (secara pilihan) at the most basic level for Year 4 pupils, starting from 2020, Year 5 pupils, starting from 2021, and Year 6 pupils, starting from 2022, in vernacular or SJK schools,” it said.
The ministry said Cabinet members had also unanimously decided that the lessons would not be part of any exam or monthly tests.
“The Cabinet maintained the decision for the introduction of the Jawi script to be allocated three pages in the textbooks,” the ministry said.
Chinese and Tamil educationist groups, including Dong Zong, had voiced opposition when it was announced that khat lessons would be included in the Bahasa Melayu subject next year for Year 4 pupils in vernacular schools.
Other groups and individuals too said khat should not be made an exam subject or made compulsory.
Dong Zong has launched a petition to oppose the move to introduce khat lessons and this has garnered tens of thousands of signatures so far.
Teaching of Jawi in vernacular schools to proceed, subject to PTA consent
KUALA LUMPUR: The Education Ministry announced that vernacular schools will teach only Jawi script as a basic level, and not khat calligraphy.
This will only be done with the consent of the students, parents as well as each school’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA).
The ministry, in a statement, said this was the decision reached by the Cabinet today, following heated public debates over the teaching of the script within the Bahasa Melayu syllabus in primary schools.
“In its latest discussion, the Cabinet has decided to maintain its decision last week in that the Jawi script introduction remains, but this will be implemented only if agreed upon by the PTA and the parents and students.
“The ministry also decided that the segment would be named ‘introduction to Jawi script’ and would only be taught on an elective basis to students in Year 4 in 2020, Year 5 in 2021, and Year 6 in 2021 in SJK (vernacular schools),” said the ministry.
Among the decisions that the Cabinet had retained include that the segment would only cover three pages of the subject’s text book instead of the proposed six.
It also maintained that introduction to Jawi script would not be evaluated in tests and examinations.
“The Education Ministry hopes that the Cabinet’s decision on this matter would no longer be inaccurately depicted to the extent of causing confusion among the public.
“The ministry will continue to engage all parties for the benefit of the national education system,” read the statement.
Parents and rights groups have been divided over the issue since it came to light two weeks ago.
Tamil and Chinese education groups had met Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching on the plan to teach Malay-Arabic calligraphy – also known as “khat” writing – as part of the Bahasa Melayu subject for Year Four students.
Some had complained that children and teachers would be burdened, while others claimed that it was a subtle move towards “Islamisation.”
Chinese education group Dong Zong had also embarked on a public petition with similar entities to stop the move.
In recent weeks, 138 DAP leaders have gone all out to fight the decision, while its adviser Lim Kit Siang had cautioned against falling into pitfalls of divisive politics.
He said that he too had learnt Jawi and it did not make him less of a Chinese. Lim and most other senior DAP leaders have however have not made their stand on the issue publicly.
The issue also came to boil several days ago when Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad described Dong Zong as “racist” for objecting to any move to foster unity.