KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Secondary school history textbooks seem too Islamic and Malay-centric because non-Malays fail to understand Malaysia’s history, Malay rights group Perkasa asserted today.
Perkasa leadership council member Datin Paduka Professor Dr Ramlah Adam flayed historian Dr Ranjit Malhi Singh today for saying that the current history syllabus had downplayed the contributions of non-Malays and other religions in the country’s history.
“The non-Malays do not understand this because they do not want to accept the concept of Malay supremacy (ketuanan melayu),” Ramlah told reporters here.
Ramlah, who is also a historian and the author of the Form 3 and Form 5 history textbooks, insisted that there is “nothing wrong” with the current history syllabus for secondary schools.
“The history syllabus is well-balanced … we don’t talk or put in negative issues that have happened, we take in the positive (parts).
“What do you want to be put in? About how the contributions of the non-Malays are in the form of the Malayan communist party?
“We do not emphasise May 13 even. It is negative … we only put in one line, the important thing is that we must maintain racial harmony and patriotism,” she stressed.
Ranjit, who was the author of history textbooks until 1996, believes that “scant attention” has been paid to the efforts of the Chinese and Indians in the development of the nation.
He has also charged that there are too many “half-truths and factual errors” in the current syllabus, and that it is laden with “value judgments.”
But Ramlah said the reason for the emphasis on Malays and Islam was because the Malays were recognised by the British as the original inhabitants of the land.
She also said that historical records showed that various agreements were done and signed by the British and Malay rulers, and not any other race.
Ramlah pointed out that the parties which signed the 1957 Merdeka agreement and the agreement for the formation of Malaysia in 1963 were also the Malay Rulers.
“We are not discriminating, we are following what has been clearly recorded in history.
“The non-Malays, they came to this country, contributed as either investors or labourers (kuli),” she added.
The Perkasa leader went to great lengths to explain that the contributions of the non-Malays have been mentioned in the history textbooks — the late Tun Tan Cheng Lock and Tun H.S Lee, for example, were duly recognised for their efforts in shaping Malaysia.
“Ranjit was talking about how Yap Ah Loy was not recognised ... well, he did not form Kuala Lumpur, that’s why he’s not mentioned.
“Ranjit himself was called by the government, along with Tan Sri Professor Dr Khoo Kay Kim, to check the syllabus … he signed it and got paid. There was no complaint then,” Ramlah claimed.
Ranjit had lamented the fact that non-Malay leaders like Yap Ah Loy were not duly recognised in the history textbooks.
Ramlah admitted, however, that the Form 4 history syllabus had placed a lot of emphasis on Islamic civilisation, and that the government was working to revamp the current module.
“The government is already looking into it, so why is he complaining? Ranjit is a consultant. I do not know what his motives are … we cannot afford to fool around with history, we must make sure it is accurately represented,” she added.
Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said the spate of complaints urging a revamp of the history textbooks showed that the “minorities” in the country were too demanding in wanting to assert their “rights.”
“Islam is the religion of the country, Malays are the majority ... its simple,” he said today. - Malaysian Insider