Kit Siang: Dr M wrong to call Dong Zong racist but group also at fault in khat row

Lim noted today that the Education Ministry said it was still open to views about the introduction of khat. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Lim noted today that the Education Ministry said it was still open to views about the introduction of khat. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 13 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s description of a Chinese education group as “racist” for objecting to khat in primary schools was misguided, DAP’s Lim Kit Siang said today.

However, the Iskandar Puteri MP said the United Chinese School Committees’ Association (Dong Zong) was also incorrect with its claim that the jawi calligraphy was a form of Islamisation.

“Both these incidents illustrate the gravity of the misperception that engulfs the subject of Jawi in Chinese and Tamil primary schools,” Lim said in a statement.

The prime minister criticised Dong Zong yesterday over its vehement rejection of khat on the grounds of religious freedom, saying the group was consistently against any policy related to education.

Today, Lim also defended Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching, a member of his DAP, over the controversy and said she only learned last month that khat would be introduced in primary schools next year.

The DAP leader went on to blame the previous Barisan Nasional administration and the education minister at the time for finalising the policy on September 30, 2015.

The post was then held by Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, who assumed the role after Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was dropped from the Cabinet.

Lim also noted today that the Education Ministry said it was still open to views about the introduction of khat.

“This is an opening that should be fully used for a new consideration of the subject of Jawi in Chinese and Tamil primary schools,” Lim said.

Yesterday, his son, Finance Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, said he would raise the matter again at the Cabinet meeting this week.