I fully agree with the founding president of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), Tunku Zain Al-Abidin Muhriz that failure to teach history properly has enabled others to invent a past that threatens national unity in Malaysia today.
Speaking at the opening of a forum organised by IDEAS yesterday to commemorate the 111 birthday of Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Zain said there were too few references to Malaysia’s own history in charting the vision for the future of the country.
“Which is why I keep saying they should be made compulsory reading in schools, instead of the lamentable textbooks that I have seen,” he said, adding that the biggest ignorance of all was that of our own history.
Tunku Zain also said that the proper teaching of history in schools would provide the tools for critical thinking so that young Malaysians could consider conflicting pieces of evidence and come to their own conclusions, a skill, he added, which would make them better citizens.
“When a young Malaysian grows up without meeting or interacting with a fellow citizen of a different ethnic or religious background, the problem multiplies in urgency.
“If unchecked, this phenomenon will split our country apart,” he warned.
Malaysian history today is just Umno/BN history instead of the real history of the country.
In Sabah, for instance, Sabah students are ignorant of the three most historic events in the state in the past 50 years.
We can differ as to what are the three most historic events in Sabah in the last 50 years of Sabah forming Malaysia, but they are all not in the school history books.
My choice of the three most historic events in Sabah in the last 50 years are:
1. 20-Points and Batu Sumpah Keningau;
2. The ‘666’ tragedy of 1976 which changed the course of history, not only in Sabah but also in Malaysia; and
3. Million illegal immigrants who were unlawfully and unconstitutionally given citizenship/voter status through illegal scams like Project Mahathir, undermining Sabah and Malaysia.
What are your three most historic events in the 50-year history of Sabah in Malaysia – but whatever they are, they will not be in the school history books for Malaysian history in the schools have become a “brain-washing” tool by the powers-that-be to indoctrinate and mislead the young generation of Malaysians about the true history of the country.
(Speech at the Pakatan Rakyat Chinese New Year Open House in Kota Kinabalu on Sunday, 9th February 2014 at 11 am)