KOTA KINABALU: A lack of understanding of Malaysia's historical narrative can hinder a sense of patriotism and unity among Malaysians, says a Sabah rights campaigner.
Datuk James Ligunjang said the history subject taught in schools over the past 60 years had distorted the facts about the birth of Malaysia as a nation.
He said the focus had primarily been on the struggle of Malaya against British colonisation, leading to the independence of Peninsular Malaysia (then Malaya) in 1957.
“The history subject barely acknowledges the historical background and perspectives of the Bornean States, which joined to form the Federation of Malaysia in 1963,” he said in a statement Wednesday (Sept 27).
“This lack of understanding can hinder the development of a sense of patriotism and unity among Malaysian students,” Ligunjang said.
To address this issue, it is important to revise the history subject in schools and provide more accurate information and knowledge about how the nation came into being, he said.
He said this revision would involve incorporating a comprehensive understanding of Malaysia's history, including the events and agreements that led to its formation.
By doing so, students can develop a greater appreciation for their nation and foster a spirit of brotherhood, said Ligunjang, a former assemblyman.
“To ensure the accuracy and inclusivity of the revised curriculum, it is important to involve historians, educators, and relevant stakeholders in the revision process,” he said.
Their expertise and diverse perspectives can contribute to creating a more comprehensive understanding of Malaysia's history, he said.
“Revising the history subject in schools is important to provide students with a more accurate understanding of Malaysia's formation,” said Ligunjang.
He said that doing so can promote a sense of patriotism, unity, and a greater appreciation for the nation's diverse history.
For Malaysia to move forward, it is important for the Ministry of Education to correct the gaps in the existing curriculum about the formation of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, he added.