20 JUNE 2016
I have read the open letter from Ambiga Sreenevasan to the UTM vice-chancellor Wahid Omar and I thank her for putting into words what many Malaysians believe to be true about brainwashing and racist supremacist attitudes.
UTM must investigate how this came about and take steps to correct this unhealthy trend, as pointed out by Ambiga. However, to take it one more step, I would suggest that the Minister of Education read her letter and consider implementing her suggestions, so that we can start to reverse the rot that beset the education system years ago.
Ambiga is correct to say that this is not an isolated incident, contrary to what the VC had said. It is a reflection of what many higher institutions of education are faced with. Many of us believe that this brainwashing and supremacist trend is widespread in this country; it just happens that not all have come to light. The anti-Christian lecture at UiTM which appeared to have been repeated even after protests by non-Muslim groups, and even having a police officer as a speaker, is but one example. What about the many anecdotes of government-sanctioned BTN brainwashing sessions, which are aimed at inculcating the racist supremacist mentality? What about the controversy over the Form 1 history text book about the arrival of the Portugese in Melaka?
Other incidences that need to be taken seriously are allegations of research fraud and plagiarism at our higher education institutions; the Ministry must appoint independent and qualified individuals to investigate all these incidences and heed their recommendations. Most importantly, we need to make sure our history syllabus is accurate and fair, without distortion and bias. This basic foundation that is provided in our schools plays a huge role in forming the attitudes of our young. No one is a born racist – one is taught to be one.
Our education system, for both lower and higher education, has serious flaws which must be addressed now. We need an Education policy that is consistent and free from the flip-flopping which we have seen with each new Education Minister. Viewing what is happening in Peninsula Malaysia, Sarawakians have good reason to urge the Sarawak Government to take responsibility for our education system, policy and syllabus, instead of following the dictates of the federal Education Ministry.
N81 Ba’ Kelalan