Home English News “Khat, a step backward” – Dr Ramakrishnan

“Khat, a step backward” – Dr Ramakrishnan


Johore Baru – In questioning the introduction of Khat, Johor EXCO member and Johore DAP Deputy Chairman, Dr S.Ramakrishan has criticised the move saying “Why introduce now after 62 years of independent Malaysia if it is an integral part of local culture?”

The following is the full text of the statement issued by Dr S.Ramakrishnan, who is also the Chairman for Unity, Domestic trade and consumer affairs of the Johor state government:

“The recent announcement by ministry of education to introduce Khat, a Malay Arabic calligraphy, as part of standard 4 Bahasa Malaysia subject syllabus effective 2020 has raised concerns among non-Malay parents, NGOs and non-Malay political parties. Why introduce now after 62 years of independent Malaysia if it is an integral part of local culture. It looks like an afterthought. Was there any consultation with the concerned parties since the decision to include was made 2014?


Ministry of education clearly did not handle the issue with care and took parents for granted. Looks like the education minister is not interested in securing the votes of non-Malays in the coming elections.

Education is close to the hearts of all communities. Imposing an Arabic calligraphy on the non-Malay std 4 students raises many questions and fear of what’s next. That too why now?

Looks like the religious hardliners civil servants in ministry of education are trying to impose the Arabic calligraphy. This is totally uncalled for and unnecessary.

Let’s design school curriculum that meets the challenges of a multiracial society and the future. Schools should be the bedrock of unity and harmony. One national type primary school along with a Chinese and Tamil school can come together to organise programs and activities that can foster friendship thus unity. Currently these seem to be the last priority.

There are so many current and developing topics and subjects to focus on. Recently ministry of education has ordered all computer classes in Chinese and Tamils schools to be stopped. But now wants to introduce Arabic calligraphy in standard 4 Bahasa Malaysia syllabus. Writings are becoming redundant with the availability of many digital keyboards and touch platforms. Jawi or Arabic cursive writings which is said to be a form of art can be included in art classes. Bahasa Melayu classes must be used to improve the proficiency in speaking and writing the language well. Seem to be a misplaced priority.

Technology and IR 4.0 are transforming the way we work and live. Internet speed, artificial intelligence, data analytics and cloud computing are changing the way we interact and communicate. Are our students being prepared for this transformational changes?

Ministry of education can be the prime agent to foster unity and harmony among our multiracial students. Make schools the place for all Malaysian students of different races and religions to accept the diversities as part of our heritage. Parents are eagerly waiting for news on the plan of action taken by ministry of education towards this end.

Schools should be the place to develop student’s hidden talents and abilities, communication and inter personnel skills. It’s no more the place for rote learning and even learning cursive writings.”