The move to introduce the art of khat (a form of Malay-Arabic calligraphy writing) as part of the Bahasa Melayu subject for Year Four students next year is final. -- NSTP Archive

MELAKA: The move to introduce the art of khat (a form of Malay-Arabic calligraphy writing) as part of the Bahasa Melayu subject for Year Four students next year is final.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government had never barred other races from preserving the written script of their respective mother tongues, making Malaysia quite special.

“The Chinese written script is not allowed in other countries, including nations such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand.

“It is something special in Malaysia, which did not bar the written script of the respective communities,” he said.

Dr Mahathir also said it was "not right" for certain quarters in DAP and several organisations to be against the art of khat.

“The art of Khat calligraphy is one which is considered to be a fine art and I think that we should continue with it.”

Dr Mahathir said this during a dialogue session with university undergraduates at the Semarak Merdeka Townhall programme, here, today.

The prime minister’s response received a roaring reception from the 2,000 people present at the programme which was moderated by state Industry, Trade and Investment Committee chairman Datuk Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen.

Also present was Johor Mentri Besar, Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal; Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof; Education, Science, Technology, Green Technology and Innovation exco, Noor Effendi Ahmad.

On Friday, the Ministry of Education in a statement said the introduction of khat as part of the Bahasa Melayu subject for Year Four students would be implemented next year as planned.

Dr Mahathir was commenting on the remarks made by DAP grassroots leaders, including a number of its state assemblymen, who are against the move.

Meanwhile, the prime minister said the nation would not have achieved independence without politics.

He said this was despite the view by certain quarters who felt that politics was dirty.

Dr Mahathir said politics, in truth, had provided benefits to the people and the country by serving as a catalyst for previous leaders to liberate the nation from occupation.

"What is wrong is not politics but the actions of the politicians. When they are in power, they abuse power, steal money, practise corruption and suppress others," he said.

Commenting on the hardships of former leaders who fought for the country's independence, Dr Mahathir said the younger generation should commemorate and appreciate their sacrifices, which prevented to the formation of the Malayan Union by the British.

"The unification of the people succeeded in thwarting the British plan, political consciousness united the people until they rose to demand independence in 1957," he said.