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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Teo to take legal action over 'unseen hand' claims

 


Former deputy education minister Teo Nie Ching said she would take legal action after it was said alleged that she had been "interfering" in changing the contents of school history textbooks.

"All the allegations of Yazid Othman are baseless, malicious and unreasonable.

"I will discuss with lawyers to take firm action to defend myself and my credibility while performing my duties as deputy education minister," Teo Nie Ching said when contacted by Malaysiakini today.

Yazid Othman, who represents an education pressure group, made the claim during a discussion session with Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki posted on his Facebook page, entitled ‘Manipulated-History Textbooks - Communists were glorified ?' last night.

Asyraf had criticised Pakatan Harapan over two pages in the history textbook on the role played by radical Malay leftist leaders in fighting for independence and the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army's (MPAJA) battle against the Japanese occupation.

Yazid, the deputy chairperson of the Coalition of NGOs for Rejecting Form Four History Textbooks (BST4), claimed that there was an "unseen hand" manipulating the contents of Form Four history textbooks including "glorifying communists" as independence fighters.

At last night's discussion, Yazid said the allegation was made based on information he obtained himself after meeting with officials from the Education Ministry.

He said he did not want to reveal his sources to protect them

"An insider himself gave us the information, saying he received a phone call from the Harapan deputy education minister, saying 'you changed this history book with the information I am sending now. It will reach you in 15 minutes. When you receive it, print it'," he claimed the source said.

Although he did not mention the name outright, it is clear that Teo was the deputy education minister during the Pakatan Harapan administration.

Former education minister Maszlee Malik

Yazid did not reveal the date of his party's meeting with the Education Ministry's internal sources or the details of the alleged "intervention".

He said the movement to investigate the "manipulation of the Form 4 history books" began at the end of 2019 and involved 73 other groups.

Teo's boss in the ministry, former education minister Maszlee Malik, has already instructed his lawyer to send a letter of demand to Asyraf over the matter.

The Simpang Renggam MP asked Asyraf to make an open apology and pay compensation for defamation regarding the issue.

But Asyraf has refused to apologise,

Maszlee explained that the process of writing the textbook had already started in 2017 and, at that time, the education minister was Mahdzir Khalid who was from Asyraf's own Umno party.

The ministry on Feb 25 also confirmed that the Form Four history textbook had gone through a strict quality control process covering various processes, before being certified since April 2018.

It was also vetted by a seven-member multi-racial panel of experts who are Associate Prof Shamrahayu Aziz (IIUM); Prof Kamaruzaman Yusoff (UTM); Prof Emeritus Abdullah Zakaria Ghazali (UM), Ho Hui Ling (UM); Prof Sivamurugan Pandian (USM); Associate Prof Rohani Abd Ghani (UKM) and Associate Prof Bilcher Bala (UMS).

Asyraf had said that his allegation was based on the approval of the Curriculum and Assessment Standard Document (DSKP) on April 24, 2018 and that it then needed to get cabinet approval to enable the printing process.

He claimed that on April 24, the BN government had dissolved Parliament and the BN cabinet was no longer governing but in reality, BN stayed on as a caretaker cabinet until the polling day on May 9 of that year. - Mkini

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