03/06/2021 Malaysia (International Christian Concern) – On April 20, the High Court in Malaysia will rule whether leave for judicial review should be granted to a parent and two organizations to void the government’s decision compelling pupils in vernacular schools to study khat or Jawi calligraphy, a form of Islamic calligraphy.
According to Free Malaysia Today, T Gunaseelan, who represented R Visa Letchumy, former Chinese School Students Association president Tan Kim Sen, and Persatuan Hindu Agamam Ani Malaysia chairman D Ravi, said, “We submitted that at this stage, leave should be granted as long as it is shown that the applicants have an arguable case.”
However, senior federal counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambaly, who represents the attorney-general, submitted that leave should not be allowed as the applicants had no locus standi to bring the action and they were also out of time to file the action.
The application was filed by the three last May, questioning the decision made by the previous government to introduce khat lessons for Year Four primary school pupils at vernacular schools.
Tan, who filed an affidavit in support of the judicial review application, said khat, which originates from Saudi Arabia, had religious connotations. Muslims also use khat to represent God as Islam prohibits the use of images.
In addition, Tan also referred to a number of articles written by Muslim authorities and academics, stating that the Islamic calligraphy would confuse Muslims if non-Muslims were allowed to use it, for example in posters for religious activities.
Chinese and Tamil primary schools in Malaysia typically host Chinese students from Christian or Buddhist background, whereas students from Tamil background practice Hinduism.
For interviews please contact Alison Garcia: email@example.com