KUCHING, Sept 24: Education Deputy Minister Teo Nie Ching has denied allegations of her saying that Sabah and Sarawak have no objections to the introduction of Khat or Jawi calligraphy in the education curriculum.
“I deny the defamatory statements made against me by Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan, without seeking any clarification from me or my office, and these statements were made in bad faith,” she said in a statement.
“I have not said that the people of Sabah and Sarawak have not objected to Jawi or Khat at the said meeting or during any other occasions. In fact, it is indeed unfair to say that the ministry is ignorant of the concerns of the people of Borneo,” she said.
Teo was responding to a news article, in which Voon uphold Seni Khat Action Team (Sekat)’s claim that the deputy minister, during a meeting with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on Aug 21 in Putrajaya, told those present that Sabah and Sarawak (who was not represented in the meeting) had no objection to the introduction of Khat in the education curriculum.
The news has since been widely circulated on social media.
She informed that the meeting was called on Aug 21 with organisations who had already approached the ministry when the issue was addressed.
“The concerns of the people of Sabah and Sarawak are important to me and I reiterate that I have never uttered anything to undermine the interest or the concerns of the people of Sabah and Sarawak,” she said.
“Also, I would like to add that there were organisations I was in engagement with who have members from Sabah and Sarawak as well, including Dong Zong and Jiao Zong for example. So to say that Sabah and Sarawak representation was totally ignored is not right,” she added.
Teo explained that the meeting was also called after the decision of the Cabinet on Aug 14, announcing that the teaching and learning of the introduction to Jawi writing in the context of Bahasa Melayu was now optional for vernacular schools and the element of Khat art was removed.
“Parents, Parent Teacher Associations, and children are given the choice to choose whether to learn or not.
“Therefore, I repeat that I have not mentioned anything of that nature and we urge the relevant parties to remove the posting and stop circulating these defamatory statements,” she said
Voon told a press conference yesterday that he learnt about the claim after being told by Arun Dorasamy of Gabungan Sekat (Seni Khat Action Team). — DayakDaily