Will MOE Ever Answer for Distortion of History?
Petaling Jaya, February 6, 2018
Malaysia Hindu Sangam President, Datuk RS Mohan Shan referred to the continuous distortion of history in Malaysia and seek an explanation from the Ministry of Education for such acts. Datuk RS Mohan Shan refers to the Form 2 History textbook content which has ignored established historical facts about the influence of Hindu-Buddhist thoughts and culture in the early Malay kingdoms. This is a shameful veiling of truth.
What is the intention of the Ministry for denying the past and teaching the students a distorted narration? Don’t they know the consequence or are they are deliberately manipulating history to gain their own hidden agenda? If so, let the Ministry tell us in unambiguous term their intention.
The right to life enshrined in our Federal Constitution gives everyone a right to protection of their tradition, culture, heritage and all that gives meaning to a human’s life. It is not bare existence. The study of history plays a key role to pass us the knowledge of our tradition, culture, and heritage. We expect the future generation to know and take pride in our history. But if the education systems do everything to deny the past and give a cherry-picked history, how will the younger generation grow up as cultured human beings? Are we not denying an essential part of a human being by denying them their history? Will the Ministry answer why it is trampling on our fundamental rights?
At present, we, the Malaysian Indians are struggling to establish religious and moral education for the Hindu students. We have to address the various issues faced by the Indian students because of stereotypes and low self-esteem. As the existing Education systems do not think it is worth to teach a student’s own religion as part of the curriculum, we, have to slot in religious education during weekends. Only small number of students, especially in the primary school can afford to spend the time to learn religion. Even in primary school, for Standard 6 students, religious study is often neglected due to examination pressure. For secondary schools students, religious education is completely out of question with their hectic study schedules and other factors. Without the Indian NGOs that struggle with limited resources to do religious and other social intervention programmes for the Indian students, the plight of the Indian community in Malaysia would be far worse. Not only finance but even getting volunteers to carry out the programmes are not easy to come.
Since 2014, the government has given funds to many Indian NGOs through SEDIC to carry out various programmes, targeting Indian students in secondary schools and Tamil Schools. It is good and the community has benefitted from it. But it is not sufficient. The work has to be carried out to a new badge of students, year by year, in every part of the country.
But why in the first place the NGOs have to do all this? Would it not be better if the problems are resolved through the education system itself? Why do we have to force the students with extra hours from their study time to learn something essential for their self? Why is the government so stubborn to not let the students learn their religion or their own history as part of their curriculum? Why not every child enjoys the same benefit that a Muslim child in this country enjoys? Why do we have an education system which does not in any way help an Indian student to build self-esteem and remove the various social stereotypes and stigmas they are facing? Will anyone answer these questions?
Now, things are going from bad to worse. We not only have to struggle to teach religions, we have now an additional task of teaching history to our community, it seems! By wiping out the meager mention of Indian history from our textbooks, the Ministry of Education has placed on our head a larger burden to educate our Indian community. Every day, we hear news of distortion of established facts to paint a picture of the superiority of the Malay race and Islam. We find in school exams papers questions belittling other religions. We find college lecturers belittling other religions. What is the intention of such provocation? Can the Ministry own responsibility and answer this.
We urge everyone to put a stop to this. Let us not create a nation of deluded citizens who only know myths and lies.