Lopsided emphasis on Islamic civilisation
There’s a rising concern in Sarawak over the government’s decision to make History a compulsory subject in 2013.
The Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS), Sibu branch, which raised the issue, said the other religious civilisations were “sidelined”.
“ACS Sibu is not against the teachings of Islam.
“Our stand is for religions to be presented in a balanced manner instead of putting heavy emphasis on Islam while the other religions are sidelined, ” it said, adding that there appeared to be an attempt to condition the minds of the young to accept the syariah law as the “suitable and practical law for a multi-racial nation”.
The ACS said in a statement that the new modified history books contained “quite a number of factual errors and contradictions”.
“For example, out of the 10 chapters, five are on Islamic history and civilisation. The other religious civilisations are only given passing mention.
“It gives the impression that other religions are less favourable. There is scant mention of Sarawak and Sabah and the roles of non-Malays in the development of the country and independence has been downplayed,” the ACS said.
The association also expressed its concern over the decision to make History a compulsory subject in 2013.
It urged the government to immediately rectify the situation.
“We, as a people, as a nation, have come a long way and we hope our history books would reflect this development – promoting a balanced view of all our cultures and religions so that there is better cooperation among all people to bring this nation to greater heights.”
“We also urge the the government to review its decision to make History compulsory.
“With the present passing rate for History being around 60%, it means more students than ever will fail the entire SPM when History is made compulsory,” it said, echoing the views of the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) over History becoming a compulsory subject.
In a December 2010 report, textbook author Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi had said that the amount of text related to Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism in the current Form Four history textbook had reduced by more than 25% compared to the earlier textbook.
He also said there was a lopsided emphasis on Islamic civilisation and that the current history textbooks did not tell the whole truth.