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Mustapha will undermine all efforts to raise university excellence if he continues to defend “historic lies” in the Ethnic Relations textbook which tries to “brainwash” university students with UMNO propaganda turning them into robots rather than independent and critical citizens of a “First World” Malaysia


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

, Tuesday) I welcome the strong stand taken by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz condemning as seditious the contents of the University Putra Malaysia (UPM) textbook on Ethnic Relations which has become a compulsory subject for all university students.


The textbook written by UPM lecturers Jayum Anak Jawan and Zaid Ahmad are a shame to the Malaysian  academic community, demonstrating that lecturers  should themselves be immersed and educated in a proper and balanced course in ethnic relations before they presume to educate the new generation of Malaysians university students on the subject, as they are promoting not ethnic relations but (to use Nazri’s words) “ethnic dis-relations”.


It is most shocking that the Higher Education Minister, Datuk Mustapha Mohamad could defend half-truths, untruths and the generally  biased, tendentious and divisive accounts in the textbook as “historic facts” when they are in fact “historic lies”!


Among the “historic lies” of  half-truths, untruths and the biased, tendentious and divisive accounts in the textbook are:


  • Condemning  as “extremist” the 1999 Election Appeal of the  Malaysian Chinese Election Appeals Committee (Suqiu), which was endorsed in principle by the Barisan Nasional parties, including the Prime Minister at the time, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad before the general election;


  • Blaming Indian youths for the 2001 Kampong Medan incident;


  • Blaming DAP for the May 13, 1969 riots;


  • Biased and unbalanced account of the “social contract” reached by the forefathers of the major communities on the attainment of Independence of Malaya in 1957 on the cardinal principles of nation-building, viz that this is multi-racial, democratic and secular nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State.


  • Biased and unbalanced account of the 20-Point Agreements reached with Sabah and Sarawak in the formation of Malaysia in 1963.


Although Mustapha said inn Parliament yesterday that his  ministry had no plans to suspend the subject or withdraw the textbook for the time being, I call on him to immediately withdraw the offending textbook.


On becoming the second Higher Education Minister in February, Mustapha has said that his biggest challenge is to restore academic excellence to Malaysian universities.


He should realize that if he continues to defend the “historic lies” in the Ethnic Relations textbook which tries to “brainwash” university students with UMNO propaganda  turning them into robots rather than independent and critical citizens of a “First World” Malaysia, he  will be  undermining  all his own efforts to raise university academic excellence and reduce the Malaysian universities into an international laughing-stock.


Mustapha must decide whether as the second Higher Education Minister, he wants to be remembered more as an UMNO politician who is prepared to “brainwash” university students with UMNO propaganda, half-truths and lies plunging Malaysian universities to a new mediocrity or as a Malaysian politician  who had made the greatest contribution in  restoring Malaysian universities to previous world-class standards.


If he wants to do the former, Mustapha will fail as a Higher Education Minister.


In fact, every day the tendentious and seditious Ethnic Relations textbook is allowed to be used in the Malaysian universities, it will polarize not only university students in the public universities but the larger Malaysian society.


Instead of promoting ethnic relations among students in the universities, Mustapha will be aggravating racial polarization in the country – one year before the nation celebrates its half-century of nationhood!


For this reason, Mustapha must act boldly and decisively by directing the immediate withdrawal of the offending Ethnic Relations textbook.


If Mustapha is not prepared to immediately withdraw the textbook concerned, then the Cabinet tomorrow should intervene and override Mustapha’s indecision in the larger national interest.



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

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