PUTRAJAYA: The khat or Jawi calligraphy which will be introduced as part of the Bahasa Melayu subject for Year Four pupils next year should be made an elective subject rather than a compulsory one.
Former International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz said the khat was an art which was alright as an elective subject.
“Making it compulsory will burden students. It’s just pure nonsense. Students have other things to learn,” she told reporters after delivering her keynote address at the Perdana Discourse Series themed "Factors Impeding Malaysia's Economy Progress and How to Overcome Them" here today.
Rafidah said students already had their plates full, coping with subjects like Mathematics, Science and English.
"If you force everyone to do khat, I will be the first to fail. I don't have the flair for such art. And I dare say you will fail too.
"Art, like anything else, is a talent. We don't need that kind of talent for it to be included as a compulsory subject in our school curriculum.
"I’ve just texted (Education Minister) Dr Maszlee Malik to suggest it would better not to do it as a subject,"she added.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was reported as saying that the decision to introduce khat was final, adding that the government had never barred other races from preserving the written scripts of their respective mother tongues, making Malaysia quite special.
Maszlee had also stated that schoolchildren would not be tested on their khat writing skills during examinations.
A number of people have voiced their concerns over the matter since then. These include DAP grassroot leaders and state assemblymen.
"As it is, the education system already has an overloaded curriculum.
"Don't add more unnecessary, frivolous subjects to it," Rafidah said.