Literature Component Malay Novel titled “INTERLOK” is one of the books for students taking up the form five examination in literature for 2011.
We are surprised that offensive words which derogate the Indians have been included in the book. Below is an extract from the book: -
“Di dalam kapal ini dia tidak susah. Sebahagian besar daripada penumpang dek yang bersama-samanya itu dapat bercakap dalam satu bahasa sahaja, bahasa Tamil. Mereka yang dari arah ke utara sedikit berbahasa Malayalam atau Telugu, tetapi hampir semuanya tahu bahasa Tamil. Malayalam dan Telugu pun berasal dari satu rumpun bahasa Dravidia. Satu perkara besar yang membuatkan mereka senang bergaul adalah kerana mereka tergolong dalam satu kasta Paria. Mereka tidak perlu takut akan mengotori sesiapa kalau bersentuhan. Mereka juga bebas bergaul. Tempat di dalam kapal itu tidak teratur. Mereka berasak-asak seperti kambing”
The above statement is factually and historically distorted and untrue. Although caste system was prevalent then, not all of them came from one caste.
In any case how does the existence or not of caste system help spread any good will or educational information to students?
The above words are demeaning and hurting to the Indians and all right minded people.
The MIC has come out strongly to object and ask for correction on this issue a few days ago.MIC President Dato Palanivel said that he was worried that the issue might affect the community if not rectified soon.
His Deputy and Minister of Human Resource urged the Education Ministry to review the book's use as a Form 5 text, saying its contents were sensitive to Indians and would not lead to the desired racial integration intended by its use.
But to date the Ministry of Education is the least bothered and some bloggers have even supported the writings and said “do not be too emotional. If seen from a racial point of view, some may view it to be racist. But in reality those accusing the book as such are (the) real racists”
Being a senior member in BN coalition, MIC is not talking same level as UMNO. In BN it’s a situation of big brother (UMNO) making the decision for all the other parties in the coalition.
BN government’s failure to immediately resolve the controversy simply shows that it is not being sensitive enough to the sentiment and feelings of the people.
It further shows that the BN government is still as arrogant as before and that the prime minister’s declaration that the era where the government know s best is over is all but mere talk only.
The Indian community has been hurt, and the MIC has also voiced its objection, yet the BN government could act as if the controversy is a non issue. I want to give public notice that unless it is resolved, DAP will make the Interlock controversy a major issue in the upcoming Tenang by election.