KUALA LUMPUR: Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran traded barbs with Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin over the Interlok controversy, ranking the latter’s reply as ‘low standard’
This occured when Muhyiddin, who is also the Education Minister, insisted that the novel won’t be withdrawn by the government and will continue to be used in the secondary school sylllabus.
Muhyiddin claimed that the independent panel had agreed to the proposed amendments, one of which is to remove the word ‘pariah’, a word deemed insensitive to the Tamil community.
Kulasegaran, who is also DAP vice-chairman accused Muhyiddin of taking a simplistic solution to the problem.
“Your answer was very low in standard,” said Kulasegaran which caused an uproar among several backbenchers.
Muhyiddin shot back, saying Kulasegaran did not understand his reply as even the MIC had agreed to the amendments.
“The majority of the Indians want the book to be out from schools,” said Kulasegaran, and called MIC a party without backbone for being in cahoots with Muhyiddin over the matter.
The dewan became heated up when Sri Gading MP Mohamad Aziz accused Kulasegaran of trying to be a hero and several backbenchers joined in the fray.
It took Deputy Speaker Ronald Kiandee nearly 10 minutes before he could control Kulasegaran from continuing with his verbal tirade.
“Muhyiddin is ignoring the Indian community’s demand to remove the novel from schools to protect the ‘little Napoleans’ in his ministry,” he said at in a press conference later.
“And what is most shocking is the MIC keeping mum about it. It tells Tamil dailies that it wants the book to be removed but it supports Muhyiddin’s stand,” said Kulasegaran.
He said Pakatan Rakyat wanted the book to be removed as a textbook in the literature component of the Bahasa Malaysia subject for Form Five students as it smacks of racism.
Teluk Intan MP M Manoharan reminded the government that the controversial novel even degraded the Malays.
“Page 39 of the book says Malays need not go to school as religious studies were sufficient for them to earn a living.
“This can cause problems when students who are naïve use this to tease the Malays,” he said.