Malaysian Indian objects to caste system section in school bookDecember 29th, 2010 - 5:34 pm ICT by IANS
Kuala Lumpur, Dec 29 (IANS) A Malaysian Indian leader Wednesday took exception to teaching school students about the Indian caste system and asked that the book be withdrawn.At least the section touching upon caste system should be removed as it does not reflect the conditions of the Indian community in the country, Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) vice president and Human Resource Minister S. Subramaniam said.
If the contents were not removed, it would “cause problems” for the country’s 2.1 million ethnic Indian population, as it would give a wrong picture of them to the students, he said.
The minister said he would send a request to the education ministry calling for a stop to the use of the Bahasa Malaysia literature book “Interlock” or the removal of the section in it touching on the Indian caste system.
Bahasa Malaysia is the language of the majority Malay community.
The book was to become compulsory reading for form five students starting next year and Subramaniam feared that it would provide “a wrong perception of the Indian community in the country”, The Star quoted him as saying.
He said the main aim behind introducing the book in schools had been to promote better understanding among different communities but this purpose would be defeated if the students were given a picture that did not represent the way of life of the Indian community in the country today.
“The book will be read by all students, including those from the other races, and I fear it will lead them away from our aim of creating a better understanding of the Indian community in the country.”
Malaysia is a multi-racial nation with majority Malays followed by ethnic Chinese and Indians.
“I feel the issue, which is currently being hotly discussed among Indians in the country, will also leave a bitter feeling among the community if something is not done to address it immediately,” he said.
Subramaniam said he had listened to the reaction from the Indian community and also discussed the issue with education ministry officials.
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Tags: bahasa malaysia, compulsory reading, country malaysia, education ministry, ethnic indian population, human resource, indian caste system, indian leader, indians, introducing the book, kuala lumpur, literature book, majority malay community, malays, malaysian indian congress, mic, school students, subramaniam, teaching school, way of life