It is puzzling that the Federal government is still dragging its feet in resolving the Interlok controversy. According to the Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin, the discussion on Tuesday among Education Ministry, MIC and other organisations, reached a consensus that 'Interlok' has no intention of disparaging the Indian community.
Such clarification or argument is actually missing the real point as no one is questioning the intentions of the author. If that was the only consensus reached, it was certainly a disappointing meeting.
One would think that the meeting would have reached a consensus that the book has hurt the Indian community and that the controversy must be immediately resolved.
The controversy has dragged on long enough and the federal government should focus on the real questions. There is without a doubt that the book contains factual inaccuracies. It is also true that the book contains words which are demeaning and hurtful to the Indian community.
Let me ask the Education Minister 4 basic questions:-
1. Can such a controversial book be used as a school text book?
2. Can it truly promote better racial understanding and forge unity?
3. Why can’t we just have a text book that is non controversial and acceptable to all?
4. Why is it so difficult for the Education Ministry to right an obvious wrong?
I must say that those who argue that one must read the book in the right context or as a whole do not understand have failed to understand why the Indian community is angry with and hurt by the inaccuracies and demeaning words found in the book.
It is disappointing that the federal government cannot even understand the sentiment of the Indian community. If the Cabinet leaders do understand the sentiment of the Indian community, then they definitely lack the political will and wisdom to resolve the issue.
Unless resolved, DAP will continue to pursue the Interlok issue during and after the Tenang by election. No one should be surprised if this issue prolongs even in the General Elections it will snowball to become the central issue of anger of the Indian community against BN.