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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why the Chinese too are against Interlok

Why the Chinese too are against Interlok

Just when Deputy Prime Minister and Education minister Muhyiddin Yassin thinks that he can rest and relax in peace with the troubles concerning Interlok all swept under the carpet, they have cropped up once again.

Now it is the turn of the Chinese to raise their anger against the usage of Interlok as Malay literature in the Form 5 school syllabus.

Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Youth and other Chinese associations all over Malaysia have issued a joint statement stating that the book gave an extremely bad stereotyping of the Chinese. It depicted the Chinese as sexually promiscuous opium addicts who are out to cheat people besides being greedy and unscrupulous.

Calling the novel 'poisonous', the statement remarked that Interlok propagates the ideology of Ketuanan Melayu as it glorifies the attributes of one race while downgrading that of the Indians and the Chinese.

Malaysia Chronicle
spoke to PKR's Selayang MP, William Leong for his opinion of the novel. "It certainly cannot be used in school although it can be sold in bookshops. The book has no literature quality at all," said William who is also the PKR Treasurer.

He remarked that racial stereotyping is wrong and reeks of racism and racial prejudice.

Within BN, contrasting stands

Certainly, Interlok has painted the Chinese and the Indians as races which are morally despicable that should be looked upon with disgust and disdain.

In a media statement which appeared in the Chinese papers last month, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Nazri Aziz had proposed that there should not be any amendment to the contents of Interlok and at the same time the book should not be used in the school curriculum.

DAP's Kota Melaka MP Sim Tong Hin questioned the BN Government's stand on this, saying "why is Nazri saying one thing and Muhyiddin doing another? Why is there no clear stand by BN on this matter?"

BN leaders have often accused PR leaders of having no clear stand on issues but now it may be a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

The Chinese associations condemned the book as promoting Malay racial supremacy by portraying the Chinese as always trying to take advantage of the Malays and bullying the Malays. This sort of brainwashing material is akin to the vicious racial propaganda spewing forth from Biro Tata Negara (BTN) officers/lecturers.

The major theme of the book depicted the Chinese as the 'scum of the earth'.

Brainwashing ahead of GE13

As the teachers of Malay literature are mostly Malays, the usage of Interlok in school could be subverted to a more sinister move by some of the more overzealous teachers due to the novel's racial bias.

It has to be noted that the novel was published in 1971, just after the race riots of 1969. It failed to achieve any rave reviews then and it was buried in obscurity until recently when it was made compulsory school literature.

The move by the Federal Government to introduce this book into the school syllabus is highly suspect and coffee-shop talk among the Chinese was that it will be used by Umno to woo the Malays via the theme of Malay Supremacy.

The opinion of the Chinese is the timing of the usage of Interlok is to coincide with the run-up to the 13th General Election.

Get the facts rights

Interlok is not only rich in racial discrimination, it also has factual errors, for example, the Chinese Anti-Japanese Army was depicted as wanting to build a small China in Malaya.

Actually the Chinese in Malaya fought against the Japanese because they were fearful of the treatment that the Japanese would mete out to them as what happened in the rape of Nanking where the Japanese forces meted out unspeakable atrocities against the Chinese.

The Chinese in Malaya fought the Japanese out of fear, not because they wanted to build a small China in Malaya.

Besides the Indian groups and Chinese associations, others who have spoken out against Interlok are the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST), Centre for Policy Initiatives director, Lim Teck Ghee and Catholic Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing of the Melaka-Johor Diocese.

William opined that if Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak wants to seriously implement the concept of 1Malaysia, then it is a great failure because of Interlok.

Instead of promoting racial harmony, Ketuanan Melayu is being vigorously promoted by Umno to capture Malay votes in view of the impending 13th General Election.

"As usual, the government does not practice what it preaches. They are also arrogant and do not listen to the people, contrary to what it is always saying," added William. - Malaysia Chronicle

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