Saturday, May 14, 2011

Interlok: A good case against Muhyiddin - FMT

NIAT chief Thasleem Mohamed says the deputy prime minister and education minister has reneged on his word to suspend usage of the book until an edited version is ready

PETALING JAYA: National Interlok Action Team (NIAT) chairman Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim is not surprised by the continued use of the controversial book Interlok in schools despite a promise by the government to suspend its use until an edited version is ready.

Thasleem was commenting on a report that questions on the unedited version of the book for Form Five students were being asked in the mid-term examination held last Monday.

“We expected this to happen. Many schools are in a predicament as teachers fear repercussion if they spoke up,” he told FMT in a phone interview from India.

Human Rights Party (HRP) information chief S Jayathas highlighted the matter when he revealed that questions on Interlok were in the Malay language Paper 2 exam.

NIAT has been at the forefront in opposing the use of Interlok in schools due to derogatory terms used liberally against the Indian community in the book.

Interlok sparked off a raging controversy late last year when Malay NGOs backed the usage of the book whereas Indian NGOs vehemently opposed it.

Parents and teachers must be bold

Subsequently, an eight-member independent panel was formed by the government to edit the book, but only Indian representatives submitted their recommendations to amend it.

Deputy Prime Minster and Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said that the book would only be used after amendments were made.

However, the unedited version is still in circulation. Thasleem urged teachers and parents to report to NIAT if Interlok is still being used in schools.

“Be bold and report to NIAT,” said Thasleem who assured the confidentiality of the complainants.

He added that NIAT was also building up a case against Muhyiddin and the education ministry over the minister’s reluctance to do away with Interlok.

“We already have a good case against the ministry.”

When asked on NIAT’s effectiveness in pursuing the matter, Thasleem said: “We are a force to be reckoned with and the system recognises that.”

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