Malaysia education ministry to probe "racially insensitive" workbook

KUALA LUMPUR - The Education Ministry has asked Sibu MP Oscar Ling for a copy of the SPM exercise book which allegedly contained racially insensitive material.

When winding up the Education Ministry's debate on the Budget speech, the minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, said Ling should provide a copy of the exercise book of model questions and answers to the ministry for investigations.

Noting that no prior complaints were received by the ministry on the book, Muhyiddin nevertheless assured parliament that the matter would be looked into.

He said the ministry would not have authorised the publication of the book which was likely the work of a private publisher.

The book carried no official Education Ministry stamp and Ling acknowledged that he had not contacted the publishers nor the book authors for an explanation.

However, Ling told reporters at the Parliament lobby that the contents could incite racial hatred and was biased towards vernacular schools.

"These are not good things to say. This is wrong and untrue and will confuse students," he said.

He urged the authorities to remove the book from the stores.

The suggested answers in the Malay Language model paper touched on the May 13, 1969 incident and blamed the schools for racial divisions.

The answers were in reference to the short story 'Melissa' by Abdullah Hussain which was published in the Harga Remaja anthology.