Chinese groups weigh in on Interlok


A number of prominent Chinese groups are among 45 organisations which inked a joint statement criticising the government’s decision to retain the controversial novel ‘Interlok’ as a compulsory textbook for secondary schools.

In a strongly-worded statement, the civil society groups ticked off the novel for attempting to indoctrinate Form Five students with the ‘Malay supremacy’ ideology.

Describing ‘Interlok’ as an “insidious poison”, the civil society groups accused the novel of propagating the ideology of “Ketuanan Melayu”.

“In fact, Interlok is barely a step away from the Biro Tatanegara brainwashing that promotes racism and disunity. ‘Interlok’ conveys the central message that Chinese, Indian and other minorities are second-class citizens in addition to perpetuating the divisive notion of a host community (the Malays) versus foreigners (‘bangsa asing’ Cina dan India).

“Not so subtly, ‘Interlok’ intends to put the Chinese and Indians in their place as ‘pendatang’, and validating a social hierarchy according to ethnic origin.”

Organisations which signed the statement included KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall, Johor Federation of Chinese Associations and Penang Chinese Town Hall.

“Not only offensive to Indians, Interlok portrays the Chinese in the most derogatory manner too,” said the hard-hitting statement.

“Kim Lock (in ‘Interlok’) is depicted as a miserly opium addict and callous adulterer while his son Cing Huat is painted as cunning, greedy, unscrupulous and someone who would happily sell his daughters.

“A major thread of the plot has the Chinese character cheating and oppressing the Malay character. Other Chinese characters such as the communist guerrillas are nasty and immoral, and the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army comprising Chinese recruits is demonised by the author.”

The civil society groups said that ‘Interlok’ has failed to comply with the guidelines set by the Education Ministry.

“The National Interlok Action Team (Niat) has pointed out that its contents violate five out of six criteria outlined by the KBSM (Malaysian National Syllabus for Secondary Schools) textbook guidelines.

“Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin recently announced that the government has agreed to amend 19 words/passages found to be sensitive. Nonetheless, the fact that the ‘Interlok’ review panel has had to suggest a total of 106 changes only goes to show how problematic the novel is.

“Furthermore, the withdrawal in protest of the three Indian panelists serves to discredit the ministry’s proposed resolution to the issue.”

Solution is to replace ‘Interlok’

The groups said that the way out of the impasse is to replace ‘Interlok’ with other text more suitable for use in the classroom.

“Some defenders of ‘Interlok’ have claimed that the main characters in the book are mere individuals who cannot be extrapolated as representatives of their race.

“This is a mistaken line of argument as the Interlok lesson guide produced by the Education Ministry’s curriculum development department has clearly stated: ‘The theme of Interlok is the integration of three main races – Malay, Chinese and Indian – in Malaysia and the challenges they face in order to live together in an independent and sovereign country’.

“Because it is the ministry itself which has dictated that the characters in the novel are allegorical, therefore it will be wrong for us to now view them as atypical. Rather the Pak Musa, Cing Huat and Maniam personas (in ‘Interlok’) are indeed symbolic of their races.”

The joint statement stressed that the protest against ‘Interlok’ was in no way a disrespect to author Abdullah Hussain’s freedom of expression.

“We do not object to his novel being sold in the bookshops. We do not ask either for the unabridged original version to be edited or censored although we welcome its critical appraisal by discerning adults. But the upshot is Interlok should not be a textbook in schools.”

  1. #1 by dagen on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 5:32 pm

    School kids are impressionable. So it is important to impress upon them the true meaning of ketuanan and the importance of accepting umnoputras as the rightful owner and master of this country. And the beauty of subjecting themselves willingly to abuse, oppression and harm.


  2. #2 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 7:47 pm

    ///Chinese groups weigh in on Interlok///

    …..and there is deafening silence from timid MCA.

  3. #3 by Taxidriver on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 9:41 pm

    When thre is any issue involving DSAI, PAS,PKR or DAP, Porn King Chua will be first to from BN to charge at them. We are waiting for him to stand up for the Chinese community on their protest over ‘Interlok’. Where are you, chai sin seh? (Mr. Chua in teochew dialect )

  4. #4 by tak tahan on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 11:30 pm

    I’m sure third leg chua dare not say a word for he will be fried teochew bihun with yau yee by najis.

  5. #5 by waterfrontcoolie on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 11:55 pm

    When the truth and reality in life stare you in your Mirror each morning you wake up; you feel real miserable. Then you begin to write something you hope it is not there. This is the society we live in today. You paint half-truth to cover the reality of one’s society which you pray hard that it would disappear. If it won’t then paint it on someone else. Such people cannot even laugh at themselves, they know that by laughing at themselves they are laughing at the truth. Only mature people at laugh at one’s foolishness but not the foolish mind!

  6. #6 by boh-liao on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 1:56 am

    Elegant silence or boh hood silence of MCA n Gerakan bosses, Y? Y? Y?

  7. #7 by k1980 on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 7:34 am

    Elegant silence or boh hood silence of MCA n Gerakan bosses, Y? Y? Y?

    Those chinks in mca or gerakan who open their mouths will suddenly find themselves unable to become bn candidates in the coming 13 GE. Ask Loh Seng Cock who talked kok in Parliament in 2007.

  8. #8 by k1980 on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 7:41 am

    #3 Where are you, chai sin seh?

    Hey, don’t disturb lah. He’s busy making dvds with angela yap. And he is not using any look-alikes unlike the one made by the little tambi.

  9. #9 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 8:45 am

    I thought it was shameful that the Chinese have not stepped up earlier. By right they should have stood up EVEN BEFORE the Indians did.

  10. #10 by monsterball on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 2:19 pm

    Voters keep supporting no change of government to try new one are to be blamed.
    These voters need to be concerned and be open minded.
    No use to identify which race…although it is the Malays that gave UMNO B the power all the time.
    But these Muslim voters are learning to think for themselves and not easily influenced and that trouble Najib most.
    Out come…sex show on convince Muslims must not support one with no morals.
    What they are…not important…as one track minded voters are made by the millions.
    Chinese and Indians are the key voters decide…as Muslims voters are supporting chamge of Govt…more and more.
    One cannot blame the Chinese and Indians voters….for as minority races…powerless…helpless..they had to be selfish and play the game to survive.
    Not anymore….after 12th GE..and that is show is on..besides other things to create fear and doubts.

  11. #11 by ktteokt on Friday, 1 April 2011 - 10:14 am

    I have said it time and again and I am saying it again! Who in Malaysia made these people “tuans” and gave them “ketuanan”? Has any Malaysian ever admitted they are inferior to these tuans? If no one is inferior, then how can these people be SUPERIOR?

    Anyway, looking at the term “KETUANAN ME-LAYU”, one would wonder if such “superiority” would last. what good is a “ketuanan” that will “me-layu” (wither)??????

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