Prof Khoo: No record of the existance of Princess Hang Li Po; its a myth

  • Nation
  • Monday, 16 Jan 2012

PETALING JAYA: There is no written record of the existence of Princess Hang Li Po, Hang Tuah or Hang Jebat and the stories that made into the history text books are just myths.

As such, history textbooks will be rewritten to reflect proven historical facts instead of myths and legends, said Historian Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Khoo Kay Kim on Monday.

However, it is unclear if non-verifiable historical anecdotes will be included in the proposed new History syllabus scheduled for 2014.

Prof Khoo, who is part of the special committee appointed to analyse the History curriculum, said that hearsay should not be presented as historical fact in textbooks.

“The main agenda for the committee is to instil a sense of patriotism (among students).

“My personal stand is that myths and legends should not be included in the curriculum.

“However, if they do choose to include them (myths), it should be clearly indicated that these stories are not factual,” he said when contacted on Monday.

Prof Khoo added that the committee was still in the process of reviewing the current History syllabus.

“I cannot say at the moment whether there will be substantial changes or not, but there should be more emphasis on historical figures who made a real impact.

“When you ask people who was the first Malay to be absorbed into the civil service or when electricity first arrived in Malaysia, they don't know (the answer).

“The value of history is that it helps to explain the present, of where we are today,” he said.

In 2010, Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that History would be made a compulsory pass subject in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).

The announcement sparked calls for a review of the History syllabus, with critics claiming that current textbooks for the subject were biased and littered with errors.

On May 3, 2011, the Education Ministry announced the appointment of a 10-man committee to review the current History syllabus with a nation-building agenda.

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