Half the country disappears in M’sian history syllabus

by Dr Geoff Wade

CPI Introduction

In view of the controversy swirling around the content of the History textbooks used in schools, we thought Dr Geoff Wade’s ‘The Origins and Evolution of Ethnocracy in Malaysia’ on the measures used to maintain Malay hegemony merit revisiting.

“It is very strange today that in the diverse, multi-ethnic polity of Malaysia, a single ethnic group completely controls and occupies virtually all positions in the judiciary, public administrative organs, the police, the armed forces as well as universities.

“While Malays constitute a majority of the population of this nation, their presence in all these spheres of power far exceeds their ratio within the general population.”

CPI first carried Dr Wade’s ARI Working Paper No.111 in our website on Sept 9, 2009. Dr Wade is an historian who researches various aspects of Sino-Southeast Asian historical interactions over the last 1,000 years and has recently been concentrating on 20th-century interactions between Southeast Asia and China. He previously studied and worked in Australia, Malaysia, China and Hong Kong.

This write-up belongs to the Working Paper Series by Asia Research Institute (ARI) at the National University of Singapore.

History Writing


When trying to ensure that the populace is sympathetic to a particular point of view, starting inculcation young is a useful tactic. In various ways, Umno is using school history textbooks to push its view of Malayan and Malaysian history. There has been a gradual process of ethnic cleansing in Malaysian history books over the last 25 years.

A anonymous textbook entitled Sejarah Menengah Malaysia, (Tingkatan Tiga), published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) in under the Ministry of Education in 1971 had much space devoted to the British role in Malayan history, and included a chapter on the Chinese in the peninsula until 1874.

By 1998, a textbook entitled Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Menegah Sejarah Tingkatan 1, also published by DBP and compiled by Dato’ Dr Abdul Shukor bin Abdullah and his 17 Malay collaborators, depicts a peninsula whose history begins with the Melaka Sultanate, when it appears that the population of Malaya was entirely Malay, and continues on into the Johor period of Malayan history. The cultural aspects are entirely Malay and it is as if half the country has disappeared.

A 2003 textbook entitled Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Menengah Sejarah Tingkatan 5, published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka and compiled by Ramlah bte Adam and her seven Malay collaborators, concentrates on finding Malay national heroes, almost one for each state.

It portrays immigration as something which only happened in the 19th century and only involved people from India and China. The 1930s is written of only through vignettes of Malay figures, while the Malayan Union and Federation depicted as though only Malays and the British existed.

The state/Umno-endorsed and sponsored textbooks are increasingly depicting the history of Malaya’s past as almost solely a Malay history and are gradually excising the roles of Chinese and Indian figures from national history.

And when legislation, distorted history and electoral and media controls fail to convince others of the necessity and validity of Malay ethnocracy, there are always threats of violence available.

To read more, please revert to ‘Second-class citizens deprived of opportunities’.

  1. #1 by ktteokt on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 - 12:25 pm

    What is so surprising with half the history of the nation missing when they can formulate the RUKUNEGARA in 1970 with the consent of Parliament on the pretence of providing EQUALITY to all Malaysians but they have now decided to BUTCHER the RUKUNEGARA in an attempt to deceive the younger generation? Just look at the back of school exercise books and you will just find the CASTRATED VERSION of the Rukunegara which contains only the five principles! The rest of the preamble is totally missing!!!!

  2. #2 by monsterball on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 - 12:33 pm

    The more being revealed…the more we know how hypocritical and dangerous UMNO B Govt. is.
    No wonder they are so confident to rule forever….with money to buy souls and half baked school books…to poison minds.
    Not once….you get Najib to respond to all these findings and facts presented ….as he is banging on the hope of the vast majority Malaysians that are wage earners and hope to keep fooling them.
    How low class can these racists be.

  3. #3 by k1980 on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 - 1:24 pm

    New facts in the new history syllabus—

    1. Dr mamakkuty is the direct descendant of Paramesware from Kalinga who founded melaka.

    2. umno is responsible for defeating the Japs in Malaya in 1945.

    3. The Chinese and Indians should had been sent back to their home countries after the Japs surrendered.

    4. The founder of the DAP was Chin Peng.

    5. The founder of PKR was Rasid Mydin.

    6. The founder of PAS was old uncle osama

  4. #4 by k1980 on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 - 1:33 pm

    7. umno dropped the atom bombs “Budak Kecik” and “Laki Gemuk” on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not the Americans.

    8. It was an umno member who raised the flags on Iwo Jima and the Reichstag to signify their capture.

    9. The first man on the moon was Armstrong bin Abdullah from umno.

    10. The man who invented the internet was an umno member.


  5. #5 by jus legitimum on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 - 1:51 pm

    In Malaysia,historical facts can be distorted to serve the devilish narrow minded and racist politicians;newspaper like Utusan can be allowed to tell lies and spin racist and biased news stories;people like Teoh Beng Hock could die mysteriously while under the care of a government body,the MACC.If all these nonsense are allowed to continue unabated,the future will be damn bleak and of course brain drain will continue.

  6. #6 by Godfather on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 - 2:14 pm

    “They” came first. We are the true pendatangs, and they were so generous to give us a share of the pie. Then the pendatangs get greedy and started to ask for more. That’s when Ibrahim Katak decided to form Perkasa to try to stop the rot in the position of the Malays.

    Do I get an “A” for history ?

  7. #7 by BoycottLocalPapers on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 - 2:15 pm

    I am comparing my nephew’s history textbook with my history textbook written more than 30 years ago & my brother’s history textbook published more than 40 years ago, and I can see that today, Malaysian students are being forced to read too much about Arab history and propaganda about how good Arab’s religion is if compared with other religions. Mahathir who declared that this country is an Arab’s country should be blamed for Arabization of Malaysia.

  8. #8 by k1980 on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 - 2:16 pm

    Ooops, nearly missed out the most important fact in the new history syllabus—

    11. It was melaka who saved Ming Dynasty by sending ships to defeat the siamese who were invading China. Admiral Zhenghe came to melaka and begged on his knees for help to fight the siamese. If not for melaka, today China would be part of Thailand.

  9. #9 by tak tahan on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 - 2:41 pm

    K1980,Which is the truth?Dr geoff wade’s one or yours?Your one seems to cover almost all countries around the world while Dr geoff wade’s one only covering south east asia.Wah lau eh!!

  10. #10 by k1980 on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 - 3:19 pm

    Which is the truth?//

    Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels was the master of the “big lie” tactic in which a lie, no matter how outrageous, is repeated often enough that it will eventually be accepted as truth.

    Goebbels explained:

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

  11. #11 by tak tahan on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 - 4:09 pm

    Ok ok k1980,tomorrow the part 2 article shall be expected from you.Be sure it’s the best one to convince cintanegara.

  12. #12 by undertaker888 on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 - 5:07 pm

    that’s why i remind my kids every week, the school history books they are reading are all lies. but study it just to score or pass the exams. for real malaysian history, i gave them other books to read.

    we can do our part as well since we are with them everyday. it is our job to get rid of this evil racist govt.

  13. #13 by undertaker888 on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 - 5:35 pm

    thanks to mca and mic and boh-hood koh, the pendatangs are in this predicament.

  14. #14 by rockdaboat on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 - 11:36 pm

    School history text books nowadays are not history but fictions.

    The “Shiok Sendiri” disease has creeped into our socalled history.

  15. #15 by ktteokt on Thursday, 13 January 2011 - 7:16 pm

    The Japanese had done it and Malaysia is trying to take after them! The Japanese rewrote Japanese history to give the Japanese a “nice dressing” to their cruelty during World War II in their attempt to con the younger generation!

    Our Malaysian government is perhaps doing the same with their “Look East” policy! Don’t be surprised if history books start to proclaim Parameswara as a local born Malay who united the people of Malacca and became sultan!

  16. #16 by tak tahan on Thursday, 13 January 2011 - 10:00 pm

    They might also include Queen Elizabeth are related somehow and already gave consent to the NEP to be uphold for another donkey years via internet without signature required.

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