Sunday January 2, 2011
MIC: Settle ‘Interlok’ issue amicably
By WONG PEK MEI
KUALA LUMPUR: MIC does not want any confrontation over its call for the book Interlok to be withdrawn as compulsory Malay literature for fifth formers.
Youth chief T. Mohan said the party wanted the issue resolved amicably.
“We definitely want to avoid any protest. However, if we need to protest to resolve the problem, then we have no choice but to protest,” he said after attending a new year special prayer at the Sri Subramaniam temple in Batu Caves yesterday.
He was commenting on Persatuan Penulis Nasional Malaysia’s (Pena) statement in a news portal recently that they would protest if the Government withdrew the novel as a compulsory text.
MIC vice-president Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam had said he would ask the Education Ministry to stop the book from being used or have the chapter touching on the caste system removed.
Dr Subramaniam said the book, which would be compulsory reading for Form Five students this year, might give a wrong impression of the Indian community in the country.
The book, written by Abdullah Hussein, highlights the daily struggles of the three major races in the country before Independence.
Mohan said the content of the book was deemed sensitive to the Indian community.
“We are very unhappy with the words used, such as pariah, in the book. Why the need for it when one knows that if you call someone pariah, they would be offended?” he asked.
Mohan said the party’s education bureau was trying to meet the Education Minister to discuss the matter and called on the Government to set up a committee to ensure contents of books about the country’s history were accurate.
“The committee should include individuals who are well-versed in the country’s history and considers the sensitivity of the people,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mohan said party president Datuk G. Palanivel’s plans and vision for the party would be outlined at a central working committee (CWC) meeting on Jan 15.
“We have confidence in him since he is a very senior member of MIC and has much experience as a deputy minister. We hope he will do his best to serve the Indian community,” he said.