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Monday, October 31, 2011

Interlok: Niat to petition the Agong, rulers

After 10 months and 56 letters or memoranda to the government, a movement seeking to withdraw the novel ‘Interlok’ from school use is heading to the palace.

NONENiat head Thasleem Ibrahim (right)said the group plans to submit a petition to the Agong, as well as the rulers of Selangor and Negri Sembilan, to seek royal intervention to have the SPM Malay literature textbook withdrawn.

Thasleem told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday that copies of the petition will be sent to the premier and his deputy, and that its contents would be made public in due course.

Also present was Lim Teck Ghee, who heads the Centre for Policy Issues. He said the issue is a Malaysian one, as the education system is multiracial and multi-cultural in scope.

"This book is unfit for use as a text book as it is biased, racial and harmful to the students and the society at large,” he said.

"Objections to its use have been raised by educators, students and others, and calls (have been) made for its withdrawal. (All) appeals to officials for its withdrawal have been rebuffed.

sultan mizan zainal abidin the new agong agung king"Now (the issue) has been moved to the national stage. A petition to the Agong is a serious matter and this will not be our last effort to remove the book.”

Stressing repeatedly that the issue is not a matter concerning only the Indians, Thasleem claimed that more Chinese, Malay and Muslim NGOs have come forward to support the demand for the withdrawal of the book.

"We have NGOs from Sabah and Sarawak also supporting the move", he said.

The petition will be submitted to the Agong at 11am on Nov 12; to the Selangor sultan on Nov 19; and to the Negri Sembilan ruler on Nov 26.

Students in dilemma

Another Niat leader, Bala Tharmalingam, said some schools have been given the amended version of the book, while others are using the original version.

Questions for the SPM paper had been set some six months ago based on the original version of ‘Interlok’. The examination will start on Nov 14.

“How will students who have been given the amended version answer questions based on the original version? They are in a dilemma, aren't they?" Bala asked.

Lim suggested that parents and teachers should prepare themselves adequately to advise the students to choose the best options available from the questions given.

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