DAP calls on Musa to immediately  withdraw  the new  Form IV history textbook “SEJARAH – Tingkatan 4”,  50% of which are on Islamic history and only 10 per cent on modern history,  when the previous textbook used for over a decade, “Sejarah Perbadan Dunia –Tingkatan 4” had two-thirds content on modern world history

Speech (2)
at  the  46th National Day Celebrations themed   “Defend Secular Malaysia” at the Tanjong parliamentary constituency
by Lim Kit Siang

(PenangSunday): DAP calls  on the Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad to immediately  withdraw the new  Form IV history textbook “SEJARAH – Tingkatan 4”, 50% of which  are on Islamic history and only 10 per cent on world history when the previous textbook used for over a decade, “Sejarah Perbadan Dunia –Tingkatan 4” had two-thirds content on modern world history. 

What is the message and objective of such a drastic change in the curriculum and content for the compulsory history subject for Form IV? 

Are we preparing the new generation of Malaysians, both Muslims and non-Muslims, to face the challenges of globalization, the information and communications technology (ICT) and the 21st century or just to meet the challenges of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) world of Islamic states  and non-Muslim member-nations totaling 56 countries?

This year, the text-book for Form IV history was changed with half of the subject devoted to Islamic history as compared to  only one-sixth in the textbook used for the past  decade.  Is this a consequence of the “929 Declaration” in September 2001 and an indication of more Islamisation to come?

In the previous textbook, “Sejarah Peradaban Dunia – Tingkat 4”, Islamic history was one of the six chapters in the book, viz:

  1. Tamadun Awal Manusia
  2. Islam Mengubah Tamadun Manusia
  3. Perubahan Masyarakat Eropah dan Kesannya
  4. Revolusi: Fasa Baru Kehidupan Manusia
  5. Zaman Imperialisme Barat dan Reaksi Masyarakat Setempat
  6. Ke Arah Kerjasama Masyarakat Antarabangsa

In the new history textbook, starting this year, “SEJARAH – Tingkatan 4”,  Islamic history occupies half of the text, i.e. five of ten chapters, viz:

  1. Kemunculan Tamadun Awal Manusia
  2. Peningkatan Tamadun
  3. Tamadun Awal Asia Tenggara
  4. Kemunculan Tamadun Islam dan Perkembangan di Makkah
  5. Kerajaan Islam di Madinah
  6. Pembentukan Kerajaan Islam dan Sumbangannya
  7. Islam di Asia Tenggara
  8. Pembaharuan dan Pengaruh Islam di Malaysia sebelum Kedatangan Barat
  9. Perkembangan Eropah
  10. Dasar British dan Kesannya terhadap Ekonomi Negara

Although Islamic history has expanded from 16.6% to 50% from the old to the new history textbook, both prepared by Dewan  Bahasa dan Pustaka, Asian history and civilizations like Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and  Taoism have been relegated to greater marginalization  and lesser space.

Under the old text book, modern history from the Reformation and the Renaissance occupied prominent space, occupying two-thirds of the text; but in the new textbook, it has been crowded out by Islamic history to become only one of the ten chapters. 

Recently, both the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, had been lavishing high praises on the late Datuk Onn Jaafar,  calling on the people to remember his contributions, struggles and sacrifices.

But Onn Jaafar and Bapa Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman – whom Mahathir had also been calling on Malaysians to remember, protect and enhance his nation-building formula – were omitted in the new textbook although both were mentioned in the previous history textbook.  What is the reason for the dropping of Tunku and Onn Jaafar in the new history text and why the change in the  history curriculum by the Education Ministry?

This is an issue not only educationists and historians must  speak up, all  thinking Malaysians concerned about the future of the nation should also make their voices heard to ensure that Malaysian education is designed  to meet the challenges of globalization to make the  new generation more  competitive by having  a global outlook and not boxed into a narrow focus which could do the students and the nation no good.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman