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Hindraf raises ‘erroneous’ STPM text with Oxford University

 | September 5, 2016

The textbook by Oxford Fajar claims that Tamil words were borrowed from other languages and were not prominent in the Malay language.

P.-Waythamoorthy

KUALA LUMPUR: A human rights advocate has brought to the attention of Oxford University that its subsidiary in Malaysia has published an STPM textbook, “Ace Ahead Teks STPM Bahasa Melayu Penggal 1” (2nd edition), which includes the caution: “Tamil words are not very prominent in the Malay language.”

“This is because the Tamil language was borrowed from other languages such as Greek, Portuguese, English and Eastern languages.”

(“Peminjam kosa kata Tamil tidak begitu menonjol dalam Bahasa Melayu. Hal in disebabkan bahasa Tamil merupakan pinjaman daripada bahasa-bahasa lain seperti Yunani, Portugis, Inggeris dan bahasa-bahasa Timur.”)

Hindraf Makkal Sakthi Chairman P. Waythamoorthy disclosed, in a telephone interview, that he has raised the matter with Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor, and Chair of the delegates of Oxford University Press.

“Oxford Fajar has been publishing books contrary to Oxford’s policies and Code of Conduct,” said Waytha, a senior lawyer in private practice, and briefly in the Federal Cabinet and Senate after the last General Election in 2013.

The said textbook was factually and historically inaccurate and could raise concerns in an already polarized nation, he warned, “Already, we have skewed and imbalanced policies against minorities.”

Waytha added the offensive parts in the textbook have only now been brought to the government’s attention after being in print since 2010. “It’s now in its 2nd Edition.”

The Education Minister, he lamented, has simply washed his hands on the matter by saying the textbook was done by a private company (Oxford Fajar). “The Ministry has a Textbook Division but its competence and independence was suspect.”

The Hindraf Chief said that he has urged Professor Richardson to take action against its subsidiary in Malaysia and recall the said textbook.

“Oxford probably represents the oldest living educational institute in the English speaking world,” he conceded.

He believes the university’s policies and code of conduct, as a charitable trust, has made a world class academic and educational contribution. “It’s beyond commercial considerations.”


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