Nazri: UPM book is seditious

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 18 Jul 2006

KUALA LUMPUR: The Ethnic Relations book being used in a local university is seditious and should be renamed “Ethnic Dis-relation”, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz. 

“The book will only create tension within the different races in Malaysia,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday after looking at excerpts of the Universiti Putra Malaysia Ethnic Relations book published in January this year. 

“What was on their minds when they wrote the book? How will the contents help enhance ethnic relations?” . 

Nazri expressed surprise that some parts considered offensive were published. 

“This is seditious. We really do not need such things to be taught to our students. It is very insensitive of those who published the book,” he added.  

The book will be a compulsory subject for university students from this year. 

He said the Higher Education Ministry should study the book and that “really, there are no lessons to be learnt from the book”. 

Nazri said those unhappy with the book’s contents could lodge a police report so that the police could investigate.  

Among the contents that disturbed Nazri were blaming the 2001 Kampung Medan incident on Indians and the May 13 race riots on the DAP. 

Meanwhile, Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed told reporters that the ministry had no plan to suspend the book. 

However, he said the Government would make necessary changes if required. 

Earlier, in Parliament, he said the book's contents were based on historical facts, which might be open to further analysis and interpretation. 

Issues such as the May 13 incident, the Kampung Medan riots and the Malaysian Chinese Election Appeals Committee (Suqiu) had become part of the country’s history, he said. 

“The Suqiu appeal has been understood as extremist and had gone against the provisions in the Malaysian Constitution,” he told Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday. 

“Some historical facts cannot be changed and others are subject to interpretation.  

“Analysts can make their own interpretation on the issues covered. 

“The Government will ensure that if there are any factual errors, it will make the proper amendments.” 

Lim had asked Mustapa if the ministry was aware of some matters highlighted in the new Ethnic Relations book.  

Lim said the book could aggravate racial relations instead of promoting national unity among university students. 

Later, at a press conference, Chong Chieng Jen (DAP – Bandar Kuching) said the book should be withdrawn as it contained inaccurate excerpts of the Federal Constitution. 

He pointed out a “grave error” on page 85, which quoted Article 11 (4) as “no religion except Islam can be taught or preached to non-Muslims”. 

“Article 11 (4) actually states that only Islam can be taught or preached to Muslims. 

“The book should be withdrawn to protect the freedom of Malaysians. The wrongful translation is tantamount to rewriting the Constitution,” he told reporters.  

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