Loh Seng Kok

Parlimen Malaysia

Barisan Nasional MCA

Loh Seng Kok 卢诚国
Member of Parliament for Kelana Jaya
雪州格拉那再也区国会议员
(2004 - Feb 2008)

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HISTORY TEXTBOOK

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HISTORY TEXTBOOK MUST BE OBJECTIVE,

REVIEW & CORRECTION SHOULD NOT BE DELAYED FURTHER

 

2008-7-8

 

When receiving the MCA delegation on education, the Minister of Education Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin expressed his hope that the every five yearly review on history textbook which is going to start soon not being politicised. He requested the MCA representatives to look at the review of history textbook from a wider perspective.

 

I am one of the representatives who met the minister. Though I faced opposition after the parliamentary debate as I raised the incomprehensiveness and imbalance in secondary history textbook in its contents and syllabus, I did not give up. Instead I initiated and formed a review group and later obtained the recognition and acceptance of the MCA leadership for the review paper.

 

In this review paper for secondary school history textbook, we proposed for the MOE to set up a committee to re-look into the curriculum. The selection of committee on curriculum must have a balanced and multi-racial composition to ensure the quality and balanced content of the history textbook.

 

I agree with the minister that the review of history curriculum should not be politicised. However, the present content of history textbook contains politically aligned, incomprehensive and narrow views. That’s the reason why we request for review.

 

For example, the history textbook touched on the issue of ‘Malay supremacy’ (Ketuanan Melayu), it also implies that ‘foreign migrant’ (pendatang asing) who are now still eyeing on the wealth of this country, and uses ‘secret society’ (kongsi gelap) to name the Chinese clan association in the 19th century, demeaning other community or races. The teaching of history can influence and shape the students of their attitude and mentality in the future towards nation building. Thus the contents description in the textbook can have negative effect in their development towards a more narrow minded outlook.

 

Secondly, in the history textbook, it is mentioned that the independence of our country was achieved through joint efforts and cooperation of all races. However, a quotation is being used subsequently which says that this state belongs to the Malays and it should be returned to the Malays. This is contradictory and against the spirit of unity and definitely poses adverse effect in unity efforts among all races.

 

Besides that, the history textbook also mentioned that only the national primary schools can unite all races. This is to say that the Chinese & Tamil primary schools cannot promote unity. It is against the truth as the vernacular schools are recognised by the government as part of the education system which are opened to all, the curriculum and textbook used are of the same syllabus as the national primary school, emphasis loyalty to the king, nation and unity. Furthermore, there are more & more non-Chinese studying in the Chinese primary schools.

 

I also agree with the minister that the review of history textbook must be looked at from a wider perspective.

 

We would the more like to see the writing and review of history textbook from a wider and more comprehensive angle, to enable students to think critically and understand the development of the nation history and have a good understanding of the past and evolution of other civilisations in order to be able to live, understand and compete with people of other cultures, societies and religions. In other words, to be globally competitive.

 

However, in the Form 4 history textbook, there are 10 chapters. Five chapters touched on Islamic civilisation. The old textbook used only one chapter that’s 35 pages to mention Islamic civilisation. The new textbook uses 97 pages to talk on Islamic civilisation. It uses 100 words / phrases to mention Confucianism, 153 words / phrases to mention Taoism. The old textbook used 330 words to mention Confucianism and 220 words to mention Taoism respectively.

 

It mentioned about Buddhism and Hinduism but very little about Christianity, only 208 words.

 

Those parts that contain narrow view and carry the meaning of demeaning other races should be deleted.

 

Only by doing so will the teaching of history achieve it’s purpose of helping the students to understand the past and evolution of history in our nation and effective in bringing unity and nation building.

 

Therefore, writing the history textbook must be objective, review and correction of its syllabus and contents should not be delayed further.

 

Yours truly,

 

LOH SENG KOK

Former MP for Kelana Jaya.

 

 

 

 

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