Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Perkasa leader ‘contradicting’ herself over history books row, says historian

Perkasa leader ‘contradicting’ herself over history books row, says historian

KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 — Historian Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi has accused Datin Paduka Professor Dr Ramlah Adam of contradicting herself in asserting that the current history textbooks were “well-balanced” and for belittling the contribution of non-Malays.

Ranjit also charged that Perkasa supreme council member had “erroneously” accused him of being paid to “check the syllabus,” saying he was only appointed as an expert consultant (pakar rujuk) to ascertain factual accuracy of the history textbooks.

“Dr. Ramlah Adam makes a classic contradiction in her statements. On one hand, she says “The history syllabus is well-balanced” and that there is “nothing wrong” with the current history syllabus for secondary schools.

“She subsequently contradicts herself by admitting that the Form 4 syllabus had placed a lot of emphasis on Islamic civilisation and that the government was working to revamp it. The learned professor should make up her mind and not beat around the bush,” Ranjit told The Malaysian Insider.

While Ramlah had said that the current content of the secondary school history textbooks were accurate, she had admitted that the Form 4 history syllabus had placed a lot of emphasis on Islamic civilisation, and that the government was working to revamp the current module.

She had also said that the government only inserted “positive” issues and omitted negative instances of the country’s history, like May 13.

Ranjit stressed today that he was not involved in checking the current history syllabus, and demanded that the Perkasa leader either apologise for making a “false accusation” against him or provide proof that he (Ranjit) had done so.

“I would like to state categorically that in no way was I ever involved in checking the current lopsided and biased History Syllabus.

“I would also like to add further that in my letter dated 3 September 2002 to the Education Ministry, I volunteered to “menyemak buku-buku teks sejarah” without any payment. The Education Ministry did pay me an honorarium,” he said.

Ramlah had said that Ranjit, along with Tan Sri Professor Dr Khoo Kay Kim had gone through the history syllabus and had no objections to it, and were paid by the government.

Elaborating further, Ranjit attacked Ramlah for her disparaging comments on non-Malay contribution in Malaysia’s history, with specific regards to Yap Ah Loy.

Ramlah, who is the current author for the Form 3 history textbooks said yesterday that non-Malays who came to Malaysia had contributed as either “investors or labourers (kuli).”

“Make no mistake about it. Many cities and major towns developed and prospered due to the hard work and sweat of the non-Malays. A classic example is Kuala Lumpur,” said Ranjit.

The historian pointed out that although Yap Ah Loy was not the founder of Kuala Lumpur, he nevertheless was “primarily responsible” for rebuilding Kuala Lumpur after the Selangor Civil War.

“According to J. Kennedy in his book (A History of Malaya), “Until the coming of the British Resident to Kuala Lumpur in 1880, Ah Loy was the real authority in the town.” He further states that Yap Ah Loy “ ... did more than anyone to establish the little township destined to become Malaya’s capital”.

 “Kennedy’s views are shared by other historians. According to Margaret Shennan, “Kuala Lumpur was another town created by the enterprise of the Chinese”. In the words of J. M. Gullick, “Down to 1879, Yap Ah Loy was Mr. Kuala Lumpur”. According to B.W. Andaya and L. Y. Andaya, Kuala Lumpur in 1891 had a population of 43, 786 with 79 per cent being Chinese,” said Ranjit, citing academic reference to back up his arguments.

Ranjit said that he had sent a copy of his presentation points made during a discussion organised by the Catholic Teachers’ Association last Saturday to the Director-General of Education’s office.

He also urged “renowned historians” educated Malaysians to speak up to ensure history textbooks are not only accurate but objective and well-balanced as well.

source: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/perkasa-leader-contradicting-herself-over-history-books-row-says-historian/

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