Khat: Court fixes Oct 21 to rule whether to grant leave for SAPA president, standard 4 pupil to file judicial review

Dominique Ng.

By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, Oct 7: The High Court here fixed October 21 to rule whether to grant leave to a father of a Standard 4 pupil attending national school and the President for the Sarawak Association for People’s Aspiration (SAPA) Dominique Ng Kim Ho to file a judicial review for a Certiorari Order.

The purpose of the Certiorari order to be issued by the Court would be for the purpose of annulling and/or quashing the decision of the Malaysian Ministry of Education to teach khat in a compulsory subject in Standard 4.

Judicial Commissioner of High Court Alexander Siew How Wai fixed October 21 to rule whether to grant leave for the applicants to file a judicial review after hearing the oral submissions by Counsel Dominique Ng here today.

Ng, who is representing a father of a SK standard 4 student, filed in the application for judicial review on August 18 against the Minister of Education and the government of Malaysia.

Ng in his oral submissions today argued that Khat was only used for Islamic praise of Allah, and could not be used for non-Islamic purposes.

However, the Court compared it to Chinese calligraphy and needed to be convinced that Khat was Islamic and could not be used for eloquent terms and non-Islamic purposes.

Ng argued that Chinese calligraphy was secular, and could be used for both religious and non-religious purposes. Therefore, Chinese calligraphy is different from the khat calligraphy.

He said Jawi was a language, and could be used for Islamic and non-Islamic purposes.

In the circumstances here, the standard 4 pupils were forced to take the 6 pages of khat in SK Standard 4 Bahasa Melayu and forced to master khat.

He worried about the problem that may be faced by students who had learned khat may innocently and unintentionally insult those in the Muslim community who felt that khat should not be used in a non-Islamic way.

He also pointed that the teaching of Khat in SK Bahasa Melayu subject infringed Article 12 of the Federal Constitution which in Article 12(3) says “No person shall be required to receive instruction in or to take part in any ceremony or act of worship of a religion other than his own.”

He also said, according to the Standard Curriculum Documents for Standard 4 Bahasa Melayu in Both Sekolah Kebangsaan and Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan, stated that under the aspect of language art, that a student must understand and master (dikuasai) the art of the language.

The Malaysian Ministry of Education represented by Senior Federal Counsel Leo Saggah and Counsel Jessica Lee whereas the application represented by Counsels Dominique Ng and  Berrylin Ng. — DayakDaily