Why has the new Form V history book referred to “ketuanan Melayu” when it had never been used in the history books for the past 47 years?

Speech (2)
on the Education Ministry during the 2005 Budget debate
by Lim Kit Siang

(Dewan Rakyat, Tuesday): Last year, the new Form IV history textbook “SEJARAH – Tingkatan 4”, departed from the past curriculum when it devoted 50 per cent of its contents to Islamic history and only 10 per cent to world history, when the previous history textbook used for over a decade, “Sejarah Perbadan Dunia – Tingkatan 4” had two-thirds content on modern world history. 

As a result of the expansion of Islamic history from 16.6%  to 50% in the new Tingkatan 4 history textbook, Asian history and civilizations like Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism have been relegated to greater marginalization and lesser space. 

The new Form V history textbook, under Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Menengah, came out this year and I have been informed by teachers that the new history textbook contained references to “Ketuanan Malayu”, which had never been used for history textbooks for students in the past 47 years.   

This is in  dissonance with the call and stand of the Prime Minister who, in his first National Day  message this year, said: 

“Marilah kita, semua rakyat Malaysia, tanpa perlu rasa rendah diri, tanpa perlu rasa terpinggir, tanpa mengira bangsa dan ugama, bangun menjadi negarawan di bumi sendiri. Kita semua adalah sama, kita semua rakyat Malaysia. Tidak ada individu di negara ini yang diiktiraf ‘lebih Malaysia’ dari individu yang lain.” 

The Cabinet at its meeting tomorrow should restore the Form V history textbook and curriculum to what it had always been in the past 47 years, so that the emphasis in the era and challenge of globalization is to foster a Bangsa Malaysia regardless of race as the goal of Vision 2020.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman