LETTER | I refer to the posted comment by Ranjit Singh Malhi in response to the Malaysiakini article, GBM regrets Anwar's comment on Lim Teck Ghee in which he wrote:
“Personally speaking, I doubt Lim Teck Ghee's integrity. As an example, whilst commenting on the Inclusive Malaysian History Project with two other individuals, he erroneously stated that none of the writers, including me, in the stated project were involved in the Kempen Sejarah Malaysia Sebenar (KemSMS) in 2011-2012.
“The truth is that I was one of the key players in KemSMS and indeed made a presentation entitled "The Islamic and Malay-Centric Nature of Our History Textbooks“ at Hotel Singgahsana in May 2011. I rest my case.”
This is to provide readers with another perspective on his comment.
He has written that he “doubts my integrity”. On this, he needs to look into the mirror first. I should point out that I have had a long exchange of emails with Ranjit Singh in which at no time did he express any concern about my integrity.
In fact, he occasionally expressed his appreciation and support for my work as a commentator on public issues.
On his claim that he was a key player in KemSMS, the reform body advocating for change in the history curriculum, the truth is that Ranjit was never a key player in KemSMS. He was a minor player perhaps at most.
I have emails in my archives on KemSMS until its placement in cold storage as I was the main convenor.
The email trail provides the full chronology and details of the organisation from its beginnings in 2011 until the end and the people who were engaged.
Ranjit’s connection with KemSMS was very brief and ended early with his note to me. On 5 June 2011, barely 2 weeks after the inaugural meeting he wrote:
“I have done my part in raising awareness of the shortcomings of our History textbooks. I no longer wish to be part of Kempen Sejarah Malaysia Sebenar. In this regard, please do not use my materials and name in your history campaign.”
Aside from a difference of opinion with another member, there may have been other reasons for his resignation which may be uncharitable for me to speculate on publicly.
He subsequently wrote again on the same day that “I will not be doing the two assignments for the campaign as promised earlier.”
Readers should take note of his concern that his name should not be associated in any way with the campaign for a true Malaysian history campaign; an assertion which he now wants to disregard.
In case Ranjit has deleted his past email correspondence, I will be happy to provide him copies so that he can remember what he has written to me and about KemSMS.
To put the record straight too, it is necessary to emphasise that none of the other three main figures concerned in the inclusive history project for schools - Sivachandralingam Sundara Raja, Khoo Kay Kim and Shamsul Amri Baharuddin - were ever involved in KemSMS activities or provided support in any way.
Hence their belated attempt in the so-called spirit of “Malaysia Baru” for a big-ticket project on inclusive history appears less altruistic and rather opportunistic.
In response to the publicity given to the inclusive history project, I, together with two colleagues, Azly Rahman and Alberto Gomes, wrote a commentary in March 2019 titled "Inclusive history project - no need for big-budget".
In it, among other issues raised, we questioned why such a project would require four years of work and a budget of RM4-5 million that was being solicited from the public to implement.
As Ranjit was one of the initiators of this big-budget project which has gone ahead (with its budget “magically” pruned down to RM3 million according to its Facebook public sponsorship seeking page set-up in August) it is possible that he is aggrieved or disappointed with our comments.
This may be the reason behind his recent postings on me.
If unhappy, he and his other project colleagues who have invited public feedback to the heavily-marketed project should write a proper defence of it and respond to our concerns as well as that of others.
I plan to provide further feedback on the project Facebook page at an appropriate time.
In the meantime, the remarks directed at me does him no credit at all. He should cease and desist from casting aspersions which will backfire against him and the project.
Note: This contribution has received the endorsement of Azly Rahman and Alberto Gomes.