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(From New Straits Times (Malaysia))
Byline: Abdul Razak Ahmad
DO our history textbooks need to be reviewed? Some experts think so.
They're seeing errors, omissions and not enough emphasis on certain communities - signs that the story of Malaysia is veering off course. But is it? ABDUL RAZAK AHMAD finds out.
ASK schoolchildren today about Yap Ah Loy, Sybil Karthigesu and Gurchan Singh and the likely response could well be blank stares.
The reason: These three historical figures have been erased from Malaysian school history textbooks.
Yap played a big role in developing Kuala Lumpur in the late 19th century. Gurchan and Karthigesu resisted the Japanese occupation of Malaya. They used to get some mention. But they were gradually removed from the Form 1 to Form 5 texts.
Their omissions are part of what some experts worry could be the gradual diminution of contributions made by non-Malay communities. There are now suggestions for a review to get the story of Malaysia back on its proper track, so it can remain a story to which every citizen, regardless of race or religion, can relate.
Is a review necessary? "Malaysia was and still is a melting pot of various races, but the contribution of the Chinese and Indian communities in the socio-economic development of our country is downplayed in our current history textbooks," says Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi, …