Response by Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi to the Malaysian Insider article ‘Non-Malays don’t understand Malaysia’s history, says Perkasa’.
Dear Shazwan Mustafa Kamal (the Malaysian Insider journalist concerned),
I have spoken to my solicitors. The blatant lie by Dr Ramlah Adam pertaining to me "checking" and "signing" the History syllabus is tantamount to defamation. They have approved the following response to be forwarded to The Malaysian Insider.
Dr Ramlah Adam has erroneously accused me (a blatant lie) of being paid to "check the syllabus". I have irrefutable documentary evidence that I was only appointed as a "Pakar Rujuk" to ascertain factual accuracy of our History textbooks (menyemak buku teks sejarah untuk mengelakkan kesilapan fakta). I would like to state categorically that in no way was I ever involved in checking the current lopsided and biased History Syllabus. In this regard, Dr Ramlah should either apologize for making a false accusation against me or provide solid evidence that I was involved in checking our History syllabus and that I signed it.
I would also like to add further that in my letter dated 3 September 2002 to the Education Ministry, I volunteered to "menyemak buku-buku teks sejarah" without any payment. The Education Ministry did [however] pay me an honorarium.
I am also dumbfounded by Dr Ramlah's (left)assertion that the non-Malays who came to Malaysia contributed "as either investors or labourers (kuli)". Make no mistake about it. Many cities and major towns developed and prospered due to the hard work and sweat of the non-Malays. A classic example is Kuala Lumpur. All historians worth their salt will admit that Yap Ah Loy was the prime builder of early Kuala Lumpur. It is sad to note that Dr Ramlah Adam provides a flimsy excuse for denying the rightful place of Yap Ah Loy in our country's history by saying that this is so because he was not the founder of Kuala Lumpur. Yap Ah Loy was definitely not the founder of Kuala Lumpur. Nevertheless, we can never deny the historical truth that it was Yap Ah Loy who was primarily responsible for rebuilding Kuala Lumpur after the Selangor Civil War. According to J. Kennedy in his book (A History of Malaya), "Until the coming of the British Resident to Kuala Lumpur in 1880, Ah Loy was the real authority in the town." He further states that Yap Ah Loy " ... did more than anyone to establish the little township destined to become Malaya's capital". Kennedy's views are shared by other historians. According to Margaret Shennan, "Kuala Lumpur was another town created by the enterprise of the Chinese". In the words of J. M. Gullick, "Down to 1879, Yap Ah Loy was Mr. Kuala Lumpur". According to B.W. Andaya and L. Y. Andaya, Kuala Lumpur in 1891 had a population of 43,786 with 79% being Chinese.
Dr Ramlah Adam makes a classic contradiction in her statements. On one hand, she says "The history syllabus is well-balanced" and that there is "nothing wrong" with the current history syllabus for secondary schools. She subsequently contradicts herself by admitting that the Form 4 syllabus had placed a lot of emphasis on Islamic civilization and that the government was working to revamp it. The learned professor should make up her mind and not beat around the bush.
I am a strong proponent of One Malaysia wherein every ethnic group is treated equitably under the Malaysian sun. I believe all Malaysians have a moral duty of ensuring that our students in schools study History that is not only accurate but also generally objective and well-balanced. In this regard, I would like to urge renowned historians and other educated members of the public to speak the truth and not what is politically correct to safeguard one's rice bowl. Let's take heed of Edmund Burke's famous saying, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing". May God always bless Malaysia!
I trust that you will do the needful.
Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi