Archive for category History

Sabah students ignorant of the three most historic events in Sabah in 50 year history in Malaysia as they are not in the school history textbooks

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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Worst Educational Measure Ever? Making History a Compulsory Pass Subject

Koon Yew Yin
8.11.2013

The recent policy decision to make history a compulsory pass for SPM students ranks as one of the most ill-conceived and irresponsible measure ever introduced into the Malaysian educational system since we gained our independence.

According to the Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, the move is an effort toward teaching students to become good citizens.

“It is not our intention to fail them. We intend to pass them, but at least let them know the basic history of our country. He also said that if history is not made a compulsory-pass, many treat the subject as unimportant and they don’t want to know our history, what happened in the past and will not appreciate what we have now,” he said.

Everyone knows what a bad state Malaysian education is in. At the secondary school level standards of mathematics and science are low; fluency of Bahasa and English is poor; and knowledge of ICT and technology is limited. At the same time competence in skills such as analysis, problem solving, reasoning and communication are lacking. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fitnah 13 Mei: Dato Ghani Othman perlu lebih berani, tegas dan serius untuk menolak kempen politik kotor

Saya kesal kerana risalah fitnah kononnya saya menjadi pencetus peristiwa 13 Mei 1969 masih disebarkan tanpa sebarang tindakan tegas daripada pihak berkuasa. Malah sikap tidak serius Dato Abdul Ghani Othman, calon BN yang menjadi saingan saya bagi Parlimen Gelang Patah, membayangkan seolah-olah beliau tidak peduli dengan kempen kotor yang dilakukan oleh pelampau kaum di Johor.

Saya telah beberapa kali meminta Dato Ghani beliau supaya bersama-sama dengan saya untuk memastikan kempen pilihanraya benar-benar bersih dan tidak dicemarkan oleh penipuan dan pembohongan. Sebagai bekas Menteri Besar yang lama berkhidmat, beliau tentu faham betapa pentingnya untuk mengamalkan kempen PRU yang bersih.

Fitnah 13 Mei terhadap saya bukan sahaja kejam dan keji di sepanjang kempen PRU ini tetapi ia juga akan memberi kesan buruk kepada hubungan antara kaum selepas selesai PRU. Ini adalah kerana ia berasaskan pembohongan dan penipuan semata-mata. Dato Ghani Othman perlu lebih berani, tegas dan serius untuk menolak kempen politik kotor ini.

Malah Dato Ghani sebagai seorang pemimpin yang sederhana serta bijak dalam bidang akademik sepatutnya lebih sedar tentang sejarah Malaysia. Beliau sepatutnya tahu bahawa saya tidak terlibat sama sekali dengan peristiswa 13 Mei 1969. Read the rest of this entry »

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Emulate patriotic and public-spirited Ahmad Habib to come forward to save Malaysia and debunk dangerous and despicable lies

Ahmad Habib, the “RealSoldier”

On 4th August last month, I had issued the first of my categorical denial of the preposterous claim which had appeared on the official Facebook page of the May 13 movie, Tanda Putra, that I had urinated on the flagpole in front of the then Selangor Mentri Besar’s residence provoking the May 13 riots in 1969.

The facebook had carried a photo portraying me being manhandled, with the caption:

“Lim Kit Siang telah kencing di bawah tiang bendera Selangor yang terpacak di rumah menteri besar Selangor ketika itu, Harun Idris, (Lim Kit Siang had urinated at the foot of the flagpole bearing the Selangor flag at the then Selangor MB’s Harun Idris’ house)”

The photo was posted in the album in the Facebook titled ‘Peristiwa-peristiwa yang dimuatkan di dalam filem ini’ (Events depicted in this movie).

Although the photo and caption have since been removed from the movie’s official page, I have a screenshot of the earlier posting. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Tanda Putera’ doesn’t unite but divides

— The Malaysian Insider
Aug 15, 2012

AUG 15 — The jury is already out on “Tanda Putera” even before the Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba film has hit the silver screen.

From the little scraps of information gleaned from one preview, the script, Shuhaimi herself and chatter within the crew, the movie presents one view of the May 13, 1969 race riot.

A view that is not shared by many, especially those who feel it is an inaccurate portrayal of events on that blood-spilled day in Kuala Lumpur.

And just like the riot, the movie has become divisive, not unifying. Read the rest of this entry »

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British role in the distortion of Malaysian history

— Centre for Policy Initiatives
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 20, 2012

APRIL 20 — We are reproducing excerpts from two recent articles in The Guardian exposing attempts by the departing British government to cover up records of embarrassing state crimes carried out during the final years of its empire, including in colonial Malaya.

The newspaper reports concern the discovery of sequestered records that have put the British colonial authorities in a scandalous and shameful light. These include records on the conduct of the war against the Malayan Communist Party (MCP), and the involvement of British troops and police in various atrocities and abuses, including the Batang Kali massacre.

More interestingly, these revealing records acknowledge the nationalist and anti-colonial nature of the insurgency carried out by the MCP. Meanwhile other damning records had been purposely scrubbed or destroyed so that it might appear as if Her Majesty’s government had scrupulously kept her hands clean and ethical standards unsullied during the days when Britannia ruled the seas.

The newly unearthed papers await the attention of a new generation of Malaysian scholars and researchers despite the shocking scale of the operation to purge the colonial files, and the extent of the British Foreign Office’s deliberate erasure of history. Read the rest of this entry »

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Our school children as sacrificial lambs

By Dr Lim Teck Ghee | 1 November 2011
CPIASIA

During the past year, there have been three controversies arising from regressive policy decisions of the Ministry of Education which have set our educational system backwards. The three controversies revolve around

  1. The teaching of Science and Mathematics for Fourth Form students in Bahasa Malaysia instead of English

  2. The use of the Interlok book as a compulsory text in the schools

  3. The decision to make history a compulsory subject as well as a pass requirement for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM)

All three – though simmering for some years now – are rapidly coming to a head during the tenure of the Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin as the Minister of Education.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Remembering 500 years of colonialism

— Tommy Thomas
The Malaysian Insider
Oct 05, 2011

OCT 5 — The Malay Peninsula was colonised 500 years ago this year, and its significance in our history should be marked in some way by universities and scholars. We should be having public seminars and academic conferences to remember and discuss this aspect of our history in its 500th anniversary. I am surprised that nearly half a year has passed, and no university has publicly announced any such initiative.

Remembering that the Malay Peninsula was colonised half a millennium ago is one way to remind the post-independence generation of Malaysians to be grateful for Merdeka. It is critical to teach the present generation about the dangers of empire and colonialism so that we can celebrate what independence means and pay tribute to the people who fought for it. Parts of the Malay Peninsula have only experienced 54 years of self-governance since 1511 when the Portuguese invaded and colonised Malacca. Soon after the founding of Malacca by Parameswara in 1403, it rapidly developed into a major entrepot in Southeast Asia, with traders from the Indonesian archipelago, China, India and Arabia crowding its marketplace. Admiral Cheng Ho led the then greatest naval expedition to Malacca and could have easily taken Malacca by force. The Chinese did not do that; instead, they were content to allow Malacca to govern itself through the Malacca Sultanate. Hence, throughout the 15th century, no foreign power colonised Malacca. Read the rest of this entry »

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Continuity and discontinuity: Prof Zainal Kling and Malaysian history

Clive Kessler
The Malaysian Insider
Sept 13, 2011

SEPT 13 — It is not my objective to argue the historical facts of this issue, to take sides.

On the facts, Farish Noor and Art Harun are clearly right and Prof Zainal Kling, however ingenious the hair-splitting technicalities that he invokes, is wrong.

But that is not the end, or even the heart, of the matter.

We must ask, what is the purpose, and what are the practical effects, of Prof Zainal now making his seemingly fanciful argument?

Prof Zainal’s argument is simply wrong, marvellously eccentric and absurdly counterfactual historically. But it is wonderfully clever, cunning and “very strategic”, politically. Read the rest of this entry »

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Toying with history again in Malaysia

-Farish A. Noor
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 12, 2011

SEPT 12 — In all honesty, I really have many other things to do than waste my time commenting on what has to be one of the most inane and counter-productive debates in Malaysian politics today. Yet as the tide of silliness gains strength all around us, I feel it necessary to add my two-sen’s worth to this debate before I get back to my real work which happens to be teaching and research, so here it goes…

It appears that some academics in Malaysia now claim that Malaya (as it was then called) was never colonised by the British after all — or at least that the Malay kingdoms were never colonies in the fullest sense of the word, but rather protectorates. This is, literally, correct and it has to be said that the legal-political status of these states was precisely that: protectorates rather than colonies. But we need to raise some crucial questions at this point in order to flesh out the debate a little further, and try to understand how and why such an arrangement came about in the first place.

Firstly, it ought to be noted that the use of the term “protectorate” rather than “colony” offered (then, in the 19th century) a fig-leaf of respectability to what can only be described as a mad scramble for power and domination by the British who were not satisfied with the acquisition of their outright colonies in Penang, Dindings, Malacca and Singapore. Read the rest of this entry »

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Revision of M’sian history should not be one-sided

By Sulok Tawie | 11 September 2011
The Sun Daily

KUCHING (Sept 11, 2011): Sarawak Teachers’ Union president William Ghani Bina said today that any revision of the school’s history textbook must be to correct the one-sided history on the formation of Malaysia.

“It is important that the new history textbook highlight the correct version of the formation of Malaysia,” he said when commenting on a statement by Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin that the history syllabus for schools was to be revised following a disclosure of new findings.

Ghani noted that the formation of Malaysia had not been put into the right perspective as it did not indicate clearly how Malaysia was formed.
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Historical Reconstruction Again?

By Farish A Noor
5 September 2011

And so, for reasons that are both complex and irritating, the past is being dragged into the present yet again; while we Malaysians bury our heads in the sand and neglect the future. By now most of us will be familiar with yet another controversy-in-a-teacup that has grabbed the headlines: namely the question of whether the events that took place during the attack on the police outpost in Bukit Kepong ought to be remembered as a historic event in the Malayan struggle for independence.

Unfortunately for all parties concerned it seems that the issue has been hijacked by politics and politicians yet again, as is wont to happen in Malaysia on a daily basis almost. More worrying still is how the manifold aspects of this event have been taken up selectively by different parties and actors to further their own arguments, while neglecting to look at the wider context against which the event took place. It is almost impossible to be truly objective when it comes to the writing and reading of history, and perhaps we can do away with that pretense. But for now perhaps some marginal notes on the matter might come in useful to clear the air a bit. Read the rest of this entry »

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Recognising history would make Umno irrelevant

By Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz | September 5, 2011
Free Malaysia Today

Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Umno hasn’t got leadership. My take on that statement is that it is the damnest indictment on Prime Minsiter Najib Tun Razak’s leadership.

Umno is now reduced to the stature of a beggar – scrounging at the supposed faux pas committed by PAS deputy president Mat Sabu.

What has Mat Sabu actually said that caused so much consternation?

Mat Sabu mentioned the name of Mat Indera, the Batu Pahat Malay born in Peserai who led the attack on the police barrack at Bukit Kepong.
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Rakyat Merdeka: Tidak mahu lagi dijajah oleh sentimen perkauman

- Aspan Alias
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 02, 2011

2 SEPT — Hari ini hari ketiga syawal dan umat Islam di seluruh negara masih di dalan mood lebaran. Hari Raya tahun ini merupakan perayaan berkembar dengan hari kemerdekaan negara yang jatuh pada hari semalam, iaitu hari rakyat negara kita memulakan pentadbiran negara oleh rakyat kita sendiri. Tarikh yang menjadi hari sambutan kemerdekaan ini ialah 31 Ogos.

Usaha mencapai kemerdekaan ini bermula jauh sebelum penubuhan Umno pada tahun 1946 dahulu tetapi pertubuhan-pertubuhan yang bergerak itu merupakan pergerakan individu oleh puluhan pertubuhan yang semuanya mengarah kepada pencapaian kemerdekaan negara.

Badan-badan atau pertubuhan yang bergerak itu tidak bersatu di antara satu dengan yang lain kerana semasa itu kita belum ada negara yang bernama Persekutuan Tanah Melayu.(PTM). PTM hanya wujud pada 2 Februari 1948. Sebelumnya itu negeri-negeri yang kini berada di dalam sebuah negara Persekutuan, adalah negeri-negeri yang di tadbir oleh kerajaan beraja masing-masing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Media lynching and academic collaborators

By Dr Lim Teck Ghee

Every once in a while the government-controlled or government-associated media engages in a public lynching of individuals that dare to challenge the Umno-scripted truth about the political system, religion, the monarchy or just about any subject which may be seen as threatening to Umno’s political and ideological dominance.

The latest case involves Mohamad Sabu and the reason for his lynching relates to a speech he made in Tasek Gelugor on Aug 21 in which the PAS deputy president touched on the Bukit Kepong incident of Feb 23, 1950. 

In that incident, armed members of the Malayan Communist Party attacked and killed 25 police personnel and some of their family members. In his speech reported by Utusan Malaysia, Mat Sabu allegedly glorified the MCP by claiming that they were the real heroes for fighting against the British and for leading the country’s struggle for independence.
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History or Soviet-style propaganda? That is the question

by Andrew Aeria
The Malaysian Insider
Aug 15, 2011

AUG 15 — If anyone from the Ministry of Education held an honest, open and non-patronising discussion with our secondary schoolchildren on the subject of history as it is presently taught in school, they would discover that a huge majority of students view it as a painfully boring and utterly worthless subject.

They would also discover that students learn practically nothing from the subject. Instead, students only force themselves to memorise vacuous facts about people and events merely to pass their exams; an indoctrination exercise that defeats the whole purpose of why we educate our children in the first place.

I should know. I taught an introductory-level university course, “Malaysian Social History” to undergraduates for a few years. And to my astonishment, I discovered how intellectually and emotionally impoverished my undergraduates were about history. Not that they had not studied and even passed the subject with flying colours in their SPM/STPM exams, but because what they had previously memorised in school was simply not worth remembering! Stunned by their lack of interest in the subject, I examined the current school history syllabus and its teaching methods. I discovered to my horror and dismay that it is presently more predisposed to Soviet-style propaganda instead of being a subject that nurtures a passionate appreciation of our rich heritage and common humanity. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hindraf lawsuit to correct historical and recent wrongs

by Dr Lim Teck Ghee

11 August 2011
CPI

A UK-based solicitor and lawyer – appointed by Hindraf Makkal Sakthi – is scheduled to meet with members of the Malaysian public this Sunday (Aug 14).

His fact-finding mission is to help him better understand the situation on the ground and interview those participating in the Hindraf class action suit. This lawsuit against the British government seeks to correct historical injustices inflicted on Indians who were brought to the peninsula by the white colonialists.

The Hindraf move is almost certain to court a fresh storm of controversy and criticism from Umno, the party that will be most embarrassed when full details of the Indian marginalization emerge. The extent to which the local Indian community, particularly Hindus of Tamil stock, is excluded from the nation’s progress and wellbeing can only reflect badly on the Malaysian government. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kota, kedai and kopitiam

By Zubin Mohamad
June 26, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

JUNE 26 — Over the years, I have been going back to Kelantan either to visit my parents and family or to do research on Kelantan performance. During one of the trips, I took a friend to visit some old cemeteries and traditional villages near Kota Baru. After the trip, she said, “Next we should visit the kota-kota in Kelantan.” Kota usually refers to fort, mostly referring to the old fort surrounding a palace or town like Kota Melaka, Kota Kuala Muda in Kedah or Kota Malawati in Kuala Selangor. Kota also refers to a city like Kota Kinabalu or Kota Baru. But perhaps both are related as the old palace or town is usually surrounded by a wall, ie. fully fortified.

In Kelantan, there are a few places with the word kota in front of it such as Kota Kubang Labu, Kota Jelasin, Kota Jembal, Kota Mahligai or Kota Salor, mostly related to the old royal palaces before the present royal administration. They could be related to one another but may have been at war with each other at some time or existed one after the other. Read the rest of this entry »

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If history was written by Interlok author Abdullah Hussain

By Centre for Policy Initiatives
June 09, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

JUNE 9 — The Malaysian Insider yesterday (June 8) carried the rather arresting headline “Use Interlok as model for history textbooks, says historian”. The article reported a suggestion by Prof Anthony Milner for “Interlok” to be used as a model for history textbooks. The reasons given are that the novel is “wonderfully inclusive” and “sympathetic” in its narrative and depiction of non-Malays.

Milner, who is with UKM’s International Studies department, categorises “Interlok” as being “a bit of a historical novel” that provides an insight into the lives of the Chinese and Indian communities and their relationship with the Malay community.

The Australian academic is likely unaware that his proposal is every bit as controversial as Abdullah Hussain’s contentious novel. “Interlok” elicited the firestorm it has precisely because its sympathy quotient is no more than if a third-rate author were to attempt to copy Alex Haley’s acclaimed “Roots” (about the origins of the African-Americans) but narrating from a white slave owner’s supremacist point of view. Read the rest of this entry »

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Using history to make us intelligent, not stupid

By AB Sulaiman | May 30, 11
Malaysiakini

Some years ago, a concerned parent and friend drew my attention to the peculiar case of the current History textbooks for Forms 4 and 5 students. He hinted that apparently they were decked with omissions, errors, half-truths, an exaggerated role of the Malay ethnic group, and minimising or omitting altogether the considerable contribution of non-Malay individuals.

The texts furthermore exaggerated the role and influence of Islam toward the development of human civilisation and the country. His daughter had found the subject unbelievable, bordering on the ridiculous, and also very boring, but had studied on because she had to.
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