Two NGOs have asked the government to ban Merdeka celebrations and history books until an accurate account of the nation's past is compiled.
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak must ban Merdeka celebrations and history textbooks until an accurate account of the nation’s past is compiled.
In making the call, two Indian NGOs urged the government to set up an independent team of experts to research the historical facts.
Malaysian Indian Progressive Association (MIPAS) president A Rajeretnam said the government must do this since former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad claimed that the information contained in textbooks was inaccurate.
Furthermore, he said the Majlis Professor Negara (MPN) also claimed that the country was never colonised by the British.
“The public are confused by these statements,” he told a press conference here.
As for the proposed independent team, Rajaretnam said it should comprise representatives from the opposition as well as NGOs.
“The major issues which should be looked into is why we celebrate independence day and why (first prime minister) Tunku Abdul Rahman is considered the ‘Father of Independence’ if we have never been colonised by the British,” he added.
He said the government must also clear the air over Malayan Communist Party member Mat Indera (Muhamad Indera) who fought against the British colonial masters.
“Datuk Naning, Tok Gajah, Mat Kilau, Maharaja Lela and others have been declared as national heroes. They did the same thing as Mat Indera, which is to fight against the British,” he added.
He urged Umno not to destroy the real history of Malaysia because of political interest.
‘Are Indians British citizens?’
Rajaretnam also urged Umno’s Barisan Nasional counterpart MIC to state its stand over the history controversy.
“It is important for MIC to come forward and explain the facts,” he said.
He added that if MIC agreed with Mahathir’s assertion that Malaysia was never colonised by the British, this would mean that the Indians here were technically still British citizens since they were brought here by the colonial power.
Meanwhile, National Interlok Action Team (NIAT) president Haji Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim, who was also present at the press conference, said it was important to re-write our history books.
He said Malaysia was not made up of a single community and all races had played a role in building the nation.
“So due recognition must be given to all,” he added.
Commenting on the proposal to set up an independent team, Thasleem said: “If the Najib administration refuses to do this, then it is clear-cut Umno is a liar for claiming that Malaysia was colonised by the British.”