Guan Eng meets Dr M again to discuss khat issue

Dr Mahathir and Lim met for talks at 8.45am in Putrajaya today. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Dr Mahathir and Lim met for talks at 8.45am in Putrajaya today. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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IPOH, Aug 6 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng met with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad again this morning following a late-night meeting with party representatives over the controversial move to include the Arabic-Malay calligraphy of khat in primary schools’ Bahasa Melayu syllabus.

This was the second meeting between the duo over a period of 24 hours over the issue, Malaysiakini reported.

The meeting, which took place at 8.45am in Putrajaya, was confirmed by a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office when contacted by the online news portal.

“The prime minister meets his ministers on an individual basis from time to time, it is a normal meeting,” the spokesperson said.

Lim was also reported to have met with Dr Mahathir and Education Minister Maszlee Malik yesterday over the controversy and promised to issue a formal statement later today.

The online report also stated that Lim was pressed for time to meet the prime minister as the latter is embarking on a two-day working visit to Japan tomorrow. This, the report claimed, has left DAP in a bind.

Malaysiakini also quoted a source on condition of anonymity, who attended the DAP meeting which ended close to 1am today, as saying that Lim had promised to convey the opinions raised to Dr Mahathir and Maszlee.

Despite DAP leaders keeping mum on what transpired at the meeting, another source told the online news portal that among the options discussed were to defer the implementation or make the introduction of khat optional.

“Those present took turns to voice their opinions on the matter. The atmosphere was not tense during the meeting, which was chaired by organising secretary Anthony Loke.

“DAP international secretary Teo Nie Ching, who is also deputy education minister, had first explained the issue to those present before others were asked to share their thoughts,” the source said adding Lim was the last to speak.

Although there were differing opinions and ideas raised, the source said that there was no direct criticism towards Teo (in her capacity as deputy education minister).

The Education Ministry had in a statement on Friday said plans to introduce khat will go ahead as scheduled despite objections from DAP leaders, lawmakers and Chinese vernacular education group Dong Jiao Zong.

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