Wednesday, May 25, 2011


The times, they are a-changing, Malaysian History that is.

WHAT??? Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat removed or omitted from our History books? Uh-oh, have UMNO finally come to admit that Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat (and Hang Lekiu) were Chinese after all, because they share the same surname as Princess Hang Li Po? Read on as what one Rama Ramanathan has to say.

I went to Malaysian schools. I grew up in the Science and Technology era. I recall the excitement in our small town when a billboard went up at a major crossroad. It had a picture of the Prime Minister. He said the future was in science and technology. We were told we should aim to do well in school so that we could enter the science stream.

Streaming in schools happens in Form 4 (the 10th year of education). Results in the Form 3 examination determine whether you continue into Form 4, and which stream you enter. Kids who pass the Form 3 exam are allowed to enter Form 4. Kids with better aggregate results are placed in the science stream.

I entered the science stream.

I’m not sure I wanted to. Like almost everyone else, I accepted the schools streaming decision, although I loved literature and didn’t care much for maths – though I eventually graduated as an engineer. At that time, I didn’t know whether I wanted to be a lawyer or an engineer. I knew science students could opt for either later. I chose to keep my options open.

When I entered Form 4, I did not have the option to study history. Geography was compulsory, history was not even optional. I had enjoyed history in prior years, even though I had poor teachers. I just liked the stories of conquests and heroism. I even liked knowing what the key dates were.

So it was with tremendous shock that I learned today about what Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said at the Umno assembly in 2010 in Kuala Lumpur. He said that from 2013 a pass in history will be compulsory for getting a pass result in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) marking the successful completion of 11 years of schooling. [The future of students without SPM certificates is severely limited.]

I was stunned when I heard this. Why did the deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia announce this during a meeting of his race-based political party? Why is history to be made compulsory? And why did he say it was necessary to review the history syllabus “to inculcate a better understanding of Malaysia’s formation?” He said this to Umno!

Those who follow my blog will know I consider Umno the feudal party of elite Malays, the party which says the vast majority of Malays are imbeciles who are impressionable, easily confused and easily give up their rights, per Mahathir’s book, The Malay Dilemma.

Umno is a party of the rich oppressing the poor using Islam and racism as tools to build the wealth of Umno members and friends while denigrating others. Umno Malays flaunt Malay Supremacy and say non-Muslims born in Malaysia are forever to be treated as first-generation immigrants – unless they convert to Islam and marry Malays.

It’s an insult to suggest that Malays are impressionable, easily confused and easily give up their rights – especially when over 90 % of the civil service and the armed forces are composed of Malays – many of whom are highly competent, gracious and honest. The leaders of Umno come across as racists who use Islam to serve their own agenda.

So I wonder what's going on with the history curriculum. Today, thanks to a group of concerned citizens, I found out what is being taught as history in our schools.

History in Malaysian schoolbooks is propaganda. History in Malaysian schoolbooks doesn't have to be factual. History in Malaysian schoolbooks is silent about the role of the British in developing Malaysia and even lies about the role of Indians in defending Malaysia.

History in Malaysian schoolbooks says Chinese and Indians came as investors and coolies. Why only investors and coolies? What about teachers, traders and administrators? What about fleeing famine and lack of opportunities in their own countries? What about coming to Malaysia when no one else would? [Read more here.]

History in Malaysia is another tool in Umno’s arsenal.

According to our current schoolbooks, race and religion are the most important factors in our history. A thematic approach is being used to formulate and teach history – it’s all about race and religion. Much of what I learned of history in school is no longer taught.

Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat have been deleted. Yap Ah Loy has been deleted. Arabic civilization is taught without discussion of other civilizations. Little is said about non-Malays who built the nation long before anyone had citizenship papers. Little is taught about China, India and Indonesia: countries which will be important trading partners.

What is the purpose of learning history? Is it to build national pride? Is it to teach morals? Or is it to know what happened and why? Should history be about learning the propaganda of the ruling party? Or should it be about learning to distinguish truth from falsehood, whether of facts or of interpretation?

A group of concerned citizens and NGOs have come together to propose an alternative history syllabus, one that will be factual, balanced and relevant. Yesterday [May 15] I attended a meeting chaired by Dr Lim Teck Ghee and heard several presentations by prominent Malaysian scholars outlining their outrage at what is being taught in our schools.

They are initiating a campaign called Kempen Sejarah Malaysia Sebenar (Campaign for a Truly Malaysian History). Their goal is for the government to implement “a new syllabus which provides a liberal and progressive approach to the teaching of world and Malaysian history.”

These are what they expect will characterize the new syllabus:

Equips our students with a broad and balanced perspective of the major civilizations and events in world history

Accurately records historical facts on Malaysia’s historical development from diverse viewpoints

Gives due and fair recognition to the contribution of all communities towards the historical development of the nation

Captures the wealth and diversity of all civilizations and religions, and

Focuses on historical facts and processes, instead of promoting any political or other agenda.

As the Irishman Edmund Burke (1729-1797) said long ago, all that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing. Please support the campaign.

Malaysians, you can start by signing a petition to call upon the government to review the history syllabus in Malaysia.


The Petition


We, concerned parents and citizens of Malaysia, note with great concern the following weaknesses and problems in the history syllabus and textbooks in our nation.
(a) are filled with many historical errors and half truths;
(b) fail to reflect fairly on the contribution of all communities in the development of the nation;
(c) are written from a narrow world perspective that fails to capture the wealth and diversity of all past and present civilizations and religions in the world and Malaysia.

In view of the great impact the history textbooks have on the minds of our young children, we call upon our Government and the relevant authorities to undertake an immediate and comprehensive review and rewriting of the history syllabus and textbooks in schools and all other institutions of education in Malaysia.

We propose that this review and rewriting of the syllabus and textbooks be undertaken by a panel of qualified historians . They should be representative of all the major communities in the nation.

The objective of the review should be to introduce a liberal and progressive history syllabus and textbooks. These should:-
(1) equip our students with a broad and balanced perspective of the major civilizations and events in world history;
(2) capture the wealth and diversity of all civilizations and religions;
(3) accurately record historical facts from a diverse viewpoint;
(4) give due and fair recognition to the contributions of all communities towards the historical development of the nation;
(5) focus on historical facts and processes, instead of promoting any political or other agenda.


Kami, para ibubapa yang bimbang serta rakyat Malaysia, mengambil perhatian yang berat tentang segala kelemahan dan masalah yang terkandung di dalam buku teks sejarah terkini di negara ini.

Dari perhatian kami, buku teks tersebut:-
(a) dipenuhi dengan banyak fakta sejarah yang tidak tepat dan separuh benar;
(b) gagal mempamerkan dan mencerminkan dengan adil dan sewajarnya sumbangan semua komuniti di negara ini terhadap pembangunan negara;
(c) ditulis dari perspektif dunia yang sempit dan gagal merakamkan kekayaan dan diversiti semua tamadun dan agama, dahulu dan sekarang, dalam dunia and negara.

Memandangkan buku teks sejarah mempunyai kesan mendalam ke atas minda anak-anak muda dan para remaja, kami menggesa pihak Kerajaan dan badan berkuasa yang berkenaan, mengambil langkah dan tindakan segera untuk mengkaji semula dan menulis semula secara komprehensif, kurikulum sejarah dan buku teks yang di gunakan di sekolah dan institut pengajian yang lain di Malaysia.

Kami mencadangkan bahawa pengkajian dan penulisan semula kurikulum dan buku teks ini dilaksanakan oleh panel yang terdiri daripada tokoh-tokoh sejarah yang layak dan yang mewakili semua komuniti-komuniti utama di Malaysia.

Objektif pengkajian dan penulisan semula ini sepatutnya bertujuan untuk memperkenalkan kurikulum dan buku teks sejarah yang liberal dan progresif. Ia seharusnya :-
(1) melengkapkan para pelajar dengan perspektif yang luas dan seimbang tentang semua tamadun dan acara utama di dalam sejarah dunia;
(2) merakamkan kekayaan dan diversiti semua tamadun dan agama, dahulu dan sekarang, dalam dunia dan negara;
(3) merakamkan dengan tepat fakta sejarah dari pelbagai pandangan;
(4) memberi penghargaan yang adil dan sewajarnya kepada sumbangan semua komuniti terhadap perkembangan sejarah negara;
(5) memberi fokus kepada fakta dan proses sejarah, dan bukannya agenda politik atau lain-lain agenda.


我们身为关心的父母和大马公民,十分关切我们国家的历史教科书的缺点与问题。他们包括了: -
(a) 充满了许多历史错误与半真半假的事实;
(b) 没有公平地反映在所有种族对国家发展所作出的贡献和
(c) 从一个狭窄的世界角度与具有强烈的偏见来编写,及偏向对某些宗教文明和信仰。



检讨的目标应该是引入一个自由和进步的历史教学课程及教科书, 其中包括了:-
(1) 将使我们的学生具备广泛的视野与平衡的角度来看世界历史重大事件, 以及不会对任何的文明或宗教产生偏见或过分强调;
(2) 从一个不带偏见的观点准确记录历史事实;
(3) 给予各族对国家发展的贡献应有和公平的承认;
(4) 专注于历史事实和过程,不应包含任何试图影响学生思想,或要他们相信对任何特定的宗教或政治信仰的因素。

஧ள்஭ிக஭ிலும் நற்றும் ஧ி஫ கல்யிசார் கமகங்க஭ிலும் ஧னன்஧டுத்தப்஧டும் யப஬ாறு ஧ாடத்திட்டங்கள஭யும், ஧ாடப்புத்தகங்கள஭யும் உட஦டினாக நீ஭ாய்வு சசய்னக்ககாரும் யிண்ணப்஧ம்.

அக்கள஫யுள்஭ ச஧ற்க஫ார்க஭ாகவும், இந்஥ாட்டின் குடிநக்க஭ாகவும் அங்கம் யகிக்கும் ஥ாங்கள், ஥ம் ஥ாட்டின் யப஬ாறு ஧ாடப்புத்தகங்க஭ில் உள்஭ யப஬ாற்றுப் ஧ிளமகள஭யும் நற்றும் அதன் ஧஬ய஦ீ ங்கள஭யும் நிகுந்த சிபத்ளதகனாடு சுட்டிக் காட்ட யிரும்புகிக஫ாம். அளயக஭ாய஦ :-

a.) யப஬ாறு ஧ாடநூல்க஭ில் ஥ிள஫ன யப஬ாற்று ஧ிளமகளும், ஧ாதி உண்ளநகளுகந அடங்கினிருக்கின்஫஦;

b.) ஥ாட்டின் ய஭ர்ச்சிக்கு ஧ல்஬ி஦ நக்களும் ஆற்஫ின ஧ங்கிள஦ அது ஧ிபதி஧஬ிக்கயில்ள஬; நற்றும்

c.) குறுகினப் ஧ார்ளயகனாடு, கு஫ிப்஧ிட்ட சநன ஥ாகரீகங்கள஭யும் ஥ம்஧ிக்ளககள஭யும் பு஫க்கணிக்கும் யளகனில் ஧ாபா஧ட்சநாக எழுதப்஧ட்டுள்஭து.

஥ம் இள஭ன நாணய சமுதானத்தின் சிந்தள஦கள஭ப் ஧ாதிக்கக்கூடின சாத்தினகூறுகள் யப஬ாறு ஧ாடத்திட்டங்க஭ிலும், ஧ாடநூல்க஭ிலும் அடங்கியுள்஭தால், உட஦டி ஥டயடிக்ளகனாக ஧ள்஭ிக஭ிலும் நற்றும் ஧ி஫ கல்யிசார் கமகங்க஭ிலும் ஥ளடமுள஫ப்஧டுத்தப்஧ட்டுயரும் யப஬ாறு ஧ாடத்திட்டங்கள஭யும், ஧ாடநூல்கள஭யும் யிரியா஦ நீ஭ாய்வுக்கு உட்஧டுத்தி, புதின ஧ாட்த்திட்டத்திள஦ யளபன கயண்டும் எ஦ அபசாங்கத்ளதயும், சம்஧ந்தப்஧ட்ட ச஧ாறுப்஧ிலுள்஭ தபப்஧ி஦ளபயும் ககட்டுக்சகாள்கிக஫ாம்.

஧ாடத்திட்டங்கள் நற்றும் ஧ாடநூல் நீ஭ாய்ளயயும், நறுயளபளயயும் சசய்னக்கூடின ஥ிபுணத்துயக்குழுயில் ஥ாட்டின் முக்கின இ஦ங்கள஭ ஧ிபதி஥ிதிக்கும் தகுதியுள்஭யர்கள் இடம்ச஧஫ கயண்டும் எ஦ ஥ாங்கள் ஧ரிந்துளப சசய்கிக஫ாம்.

இந்த நீ஭ாய்யின் க஥ாக்கநா஦து ஒரு ஧பந்த சகாள்ளக நற்றும் முற்க஧ாக்கா஦ அம்சங்கள் சகாண்ட யப஬ாறு ஧ாடத்திட்டங்கள஭யும஧ாடநூல்கள஭யும் அ஫ிமுகப்஧டுத்த கயண்டும் என்஧தற்காகத்தான், அயற்஫ில் :-

1) கு஫ிப்஧ிட்ட ஥ாகரீங்கத்ளதயும் சநனத்ளதயுகந அதிகம் ய஬ியுறுத்தாது, உ஬க யப஬ாற்஫ில் ஧஬ முக்கினநா஦ ஥ாகரீங்கங்கள஭யும் ஥ிகழ்வுகள஭யும் ஧ற்஫ின ஒரு யிரியா஦ நற்றும் சநநா஦ ஧ார்ளயளன ஥ம் நாணயர்களுக்கு ஏற்஧டுத்த முடியும்.

2) துல்஬ிதநாக ஆய்வு சசய்து யப஬ாற்றுச் சந஧யங்க஭ின் ஆதாபங்கள஭ ஧ாபா஧ட்சநின்஫ி ஧திவு சசய்ன கயண்டும்.

3) யப஬ாற்ள஫ப் ஧ின்ண஦ினாகக் சகாண்ட ஥ாட்டின் ய஭ர்ச்சிக்கும் முன்க஦ற்஫த்திற்கும் அனபாது ஧ாடு஧ட்ட ஧ல்஬ி஦ நக்க஭ின் ஧ங்க஭ிப்஧ிள஦ ஥ினானநாக அங்கீகரிக்க கயண்டும்.

4) நாணாக்கர்க஭ின் சிந்தள஦க஭ில் கு஫ிப்஧ிட்ட சநனத்தின் நீகதா அல்஬து அபசினல் சகாள்ளகனின் நீகதா ஧ிடிப்பு ஏற்஧டுத்துயதற்கா஦ ஧ாதிப்பு அம்சங்கள் ஥ீங்கப்ச஧ற்஫ , முற்஫ிலும் யப஬ாற்று உண்ளநத் தகயல்க஭ின்நீதும் அதள஦ச் சார்ந்த சசனல்஧ாடுக஭ின் நீதும் கய஦ம் சசலுத்தப்஧ட கயண்டும

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