27/08/2020 06:43 PM

By Kurniawati Kamaruddin

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27  -- Like the Malay idiom “tak kenal maka tak cinta” (to know somebody is to love somebody), that is how a relationship is between the people and the country. If the people do not know their homeland, how can there be respect, love and loyalty to the country?

The identity crisis that is happening in many countries is causing more and more people to not understand who they are, what their responsibilities are and role they should play.

This situation will worsen when the people do not know and understand their country’s history, especially the post-independence generation as they do not go through the process of how  independence was achieved, said renown historian Prof Datuk Dr Ramlah Adam.

She said the situation will be more worrying when history is distorted by giving new interpretations, especially in the teaching of History in schools.

“ The topics in the current textbooks are also too heavy, especially for Form Three and Four students, with presentations that do not attract students to understand and learn history," he told Bernama recently.

Ramlah, who has made a comparative study of the old publication of the History textbooks for Form Three and Four with the ones published in 2019 and 2020, found the topics are not only too heavy, but the description is also extensive and  in-depth.

This includes topics on the history of foreign countries which is quite burdensome for teachers and students to understand, she added. 

She said there were unlike previously published books, where the topics focused on the country’s history from the beginning of the Melaka Empire, the struggle against the colonialists until the formation of Malaysia.

The focus, she said, should be on the country’s history as it would be one of the elements to build self-identity and patriotism, instead of the topics about the history of foreign countries that have nothing to do with our country.

“If these students do not understand their country’s history, they will make assumptions that are not based on facts.

“When they read opinions that are contrary to the textbook, students will be more misguided about history, " she added.

History is a compulsory subject that required students to obtain at least a pass at the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia level since 2013. It aims to enhance students' knowledge of the country's history.

Ramlah, who has produced 22 teaching and learning books at the university, expressed her dissatisfaction as the country’s independence fighters were not given prominence in the new edition of the History textbook for Form Four students.

Speaking about nationalism, she said, one could not not escape from discussing local figures who opposed the British,  including Rentap, Dol Said, Sharif Masahor, Mat Salleh, Datuk Maharaja Lela, Tok Janggut or Abdul Rahman Limbong.

“In the old History books, these local figures were highlighted, but were removed in the new History textbook, despite them being the ones that brought  about the existence of our country. 

“They are the ones who should be highlighted to the new generation so that the students know who are the country’s independence fighters to build their love for the country,” she said.

Ramlah said many facts were removed from the History textbook, especially on UMNO, which she claimed, is an organisation that has succeeded in uniting the Malays in 1946 and led to the country to achieve its independence.

Facts on the country's history cannot be erased because of different political beliefs, she said, adding that the facts should remain for the benefit of future generations.

The views of the younger generation today are very dominant and they should know the real historical facts, especially through reading and research, she said.














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