PETALING JAYA: The labeling of the Chinese education group's Prime Minister Dong Zong as "racist" has been "outrageous" and "most regrettable," says Ramarpal Singh, Bukit Gelugor, an MP.
He said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's remark would only aggravate the situation.
The prime minister's statement came after Dong Zong's protests over the introduction of khat in the Bahasa Melayu curriculum of Year Four in schools.
"Instead of shutting down Dong Zong's concerns about the khat issue, calling it racist will only take it away from any compromises or negotiations that all stakeholders should have.
"Dong Zong's concerns about the khat issue should not be dismissed, as such concerns are unfounded and may represent a large section of the Chinese community on the issue.
"This is a dissatisfaction with the matter on the ground it is a fact and cannot be taken lightly," Ramkarpal said in a statement on Monday (August 12).
He added that any disagreement should be communicated rationally and through appropriate dialogue sessions.
"If there are any valid reasons to disagree with Dong Zong, they must be reasoned and their concerns should not be dismissed for racism."
Ramkarpal said that as the khat issue attracted a lot of criticism, only DAP secretary general Lim Guan Eng was allowed to raise the issue again at the next Cabinet meeting for his review.
"It is expected that a friendly and acceptable solution will be reached on the matter as soon as possible through appropriate dialogue and consultation," he said.
Earlier, Dr Mahathir said that Dong Zong often protests against all government education policies, including setting up Sekolah Wawasan (Vision Schools) at primary level.
He said the reason for Dong Zong's objection was because they did not want their children to mix with the Malays.
DAP leaders were criticized after the government announced plans to introduce khat in schools.
Minister of Education, Dr Maszlee Malik, announced khat teaching in the Bahasa Melayu curriculum for Year Four at Chinese and Tamil elementary schools next year.
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Dr M calls Dong Zong "racist" on a khat issue
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