Professor Ramlah Adam: Non Malays fail to understand Malaysia's history
Professor Ramlah Adam: Non
Malays fail to understand Malaysia's history
In response to Dr Ranjit
Malhi Singh critique
of the history syllabus in our schools. Professor Ramlah Adam came up with a
LUMPUR, April 10 — Secondary school history textbooks seem too Islamic and
Malay-centric because non-Malays fail to understand Malaysia’s history, Malay
rights group Perkasa asserted today.
Perkasa leadership council member Datin Paduka
Professor Dr Ramlah Adam flayed historian Dr Ranjit Malhi Singh today for saying
that the current history syllabus had downplayed the contributions of non-Malays
and other religions in the country’s history.
“The non-Malays do not understand this because they do
not want to accept the concept of Malay supremacy (ketuanan melayu),” Ramlah
told reporters here.
Ramlah, who is also a historian and the author of the
Form 3 and Form 5 history textbooks, insisted that there is “nothing wrong” with
the current history syllabus for secondary schools.
“The history syllabus is well-balanced … we don’t talk
or put in negative issues that
have happened, we take in the positive (parts).
“What do you want to be put in? About how the
contributions of the non-Malays are in the form of the Malayan communist
“We do not emphasise May 13 even. It is negative … we
only put in one line, the important thing is that we must maintain racial
harmony and patriotism,” she stressed.
Ranjit, who was the author of history textbooks until
1996, believes that “scant attention” has been paid to the efforts of the Chinese and Indians in the
development of the nation.
He has also charged that there are too many
“half-truths and factual errors” in the current syllabus, and that it is laden
with “value judgments.”
But Ramlah said the reason for the emphasis on Malays and Islam was because
the Malays were recognised by the British as the original inhabitants of the
She also said that historical records showed that
various agreements were done and signed by the British and Malay rulers, and not
any other race.
Ramlah pointed out that the parties which signed the
1957 Merdeka agreement and the
agreement for the formation of Malaysia in 1963 were also the Malay
“We are not discriminating, we are following what has
been clearly recorded in history.
“The non-Malays, they came to this country,
contributed as either investors or labourers (kuli),” she
The Perkasa leader went to great lengths to explain
that the contributions of the non-Malays have been mentioned in the history
textbooks — the late Tun Tan Cheng Lock and Tun H.S Lee, for example, were duly
recognised for their efforts in shaping
“Ranjit was talking about how Yap Ah Loy was not
recognised ... well, he did not form Kuala Lumpur, that’s why he’s not
“Ranjit himself was called by the government, along with
Tan Sri Professor Dr Khoo Kay Kim, to check the syllabus … he signed it and got
paid. There was no complaint then,” Ramlah claimed.
Ranjit had lamented the fact that non-Malay leaders
like Yap Ah Loy were not duly recognised in the history
Ramlah admitted, however, that the Form 4 history
syllabus had placed a lot of emphasis on Islamic civilisation, and that the
government was working to revamp the current module.
“The government is already looking into it, so why is
he complaining? Ranjit is a consultant. I do not know what his motives are … we
cannot afford to fool around with history, we must make sure it is accurately
represented,” she added.
Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said the spate of complaints urging a revamp of
the history textbooks showed that the “minorities” in the country were too
demanding in wanting to assert their “rights.”
“Islam is the religion of the country, Malays are the
majority ... its simple,” he said today