Monday, October 25, 2010

Fix biased version of History first, MCA tells Education Ministry

October 25, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — The MCA today urged the Education Ministry to review and mend what it called an “imbalanced” account of the nation’s history in existing textbooks favouring one race and religious civilisation before making the subject a “must pass” in school from 2013.

“MCA has received feedback (or complaints) from parents that the History textbook syllabus tends to predominantly favour a particular race and religious civilisation, while using derogatory terms of ‘pendatang asing’ [foreign immigrants] on other races,” the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition’s Chinese partner highlighted in a media statement today.

MCA deputy publicity chief Loh Seng Kok also noted that newspapers had reported the subject would soon be taught from the primary level onwards — at present it is a core subject only in secondary schools — and would incorporate Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, which touches on the “special position” of the Bumiputeras.

“There are also anxieties of the possibility of misinterpretation where ‘special position’ i.e. a ‘privilege’ maybe taken to read as an ‘automatic right’,” Loh said.

He stressed that the history taught in schools must be objective, rational and impartial to reflect the contributions of the different races and religious groups in the making of multicultural Malaysia.

Loh noted the a five-year review of the school syllabi was scheduled to take place soon and advised the set-up of a multicultural panel to fix the lopsided accounts of the past.

The MCA man said the new syllabi created should be free from influence of any one political group and urged History authors not to “introduce new terms which hint of racial supremacy or inaccurately suggest that vernacular schools impede national unity”.

Loh said such prejudice could be seen in the latest History paper in the PMR, the national assessment examination for Form Three students.

“Any personal conviction held by the authors which can lead to racial resentment and uneasiness must be completely disallowed.

“The Ministry of Education must review and rectify any shortcoming in order to prevent ethnic disharmony in our nation,” Loh stressed, joining a growing chorus criticising the Najib administration’s latest move on education.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also in charge of Education, had recently announced that History would be a “must-pass” subject in the SPM, the national secondary school leaving examination, in addition to Bahasa Malaysia.

The opposition DAP had also demanded Muhyiddin form an independent advisory board to “overhaul” the subject crucial to nation-building efforts.

The national Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) had earlier today slammed the education minister for caving in to pressure from delegates at the Umno annual assembly over the weekend.

“[PAGE] is of the view that this is yet another politically-motivated decision to appease and please Umno delegates at its general assembly, without any thought given to recent policy decisions that have been made by him on education thus far,” the lobby group’s chief, Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, said in a media statement.

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