'Fake news' - Teo denies wanting to change History school syllabus

Modified 23 Dec 2018, 9:16 am

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching today denied news reports that DAP was allegedly planning to alter the History syllabus for schools. 

Calling the reports fake news and baseless, Teo said the reports were irresponsible attempts to stir racial sentiments.

"With regard to the reports that went viral on social media and had since been picked up by several portals, alleging me of planning to alter the History syllabus of primary and secondary schools by engaging Chinese NGOs, I want to stress that such reports are fake and totally baseless.

"Such irresponsible news reports are attempts to play up racial sentiments. I strongly deny what was reported and I want to warn them (publishers) to retract their articles immediately.

"If they fail to do so, I will not hesitate to pursue legal action, as such reports are attempts to tarnish my image and also that of the ministry," she said in a statement today.

Teo was responding to an article which went viral in several blogs, including Sabahkini2 and MindaRakyat, after it was published by the Malaysia Gazette.

The portal, which stated that it picked up the news from Chinese newspaper Sinchew Daily, quoted Teo as saying that a committee of historians had agreed that the primary school History syllabus had many elements from other subjects.

It stated that the ministry's textbook division held eight workshops since 2014 to study the suggestions made by 10 Chinese NGOs to improve the contents of school textbooks.

One of the suggestions purportedly made by these NGOs was to emphasise the influence of Indian culture on Malay governments in the Standard 4 History textbook.

'Impossible' to have been involved

As Teo pointed out, however, it would have been impossible for her to have a hand in the textbook review, as it happened last year – before Pakatan Harapan assumed federal power. 

"For the record, a review of the Primary School Standard Curriculum (KSSR) was initiated in 2017 when the Education Ministry began to make improvements to the existing curriculum for all subjects.

"A panel comprising history and textbook curriculum experts was formed in 2017, (well) before I was appointed as the deputy education minister (on July 2)," she said.

"The review of the Standard 4 curriculum for the History textbook was completed in 2017.

"Thus, it was impossible for me to have a hand in the review and amendments of the History curriculum... what more to appoint a 'DAP team' or Chinese NGOs to include (in the syllabus) anything related to the history of DAP."

Teo added that any meeting between the NGOs and the school curriculum committee was only to get input on the History curriculum for both primary and secondary schools.

She said she never participated in any of these meetings.

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