Call to include Old Kedah civilisation in history textbooks


ALOR SETAR: New facts on Old Kedah, which has been declared as the earliest and oldest civilisation in Southeast Asia, should be immediately included in history books used as textbooks in schools.

Chairman of the Malaysian Historical Society Kedah branch, Prof Dr Wan Shamsuddin Mohd Yusof said the information was necessary so the young generation could be aware of the existence of the more than 2,000 year-old treasure at the Sungai Batu Archaeology Complex.

“This is history, not a myth, or merely a legend, but something that should be the pride of Malaysians, that we have the oldest civilisation in Southeast Asia,” he told Bernama.

On May 23, the Sungai Batu Archaeology Complex was declared the earliest and oldest civilisation in this region and five archaeologists, representing five main civilisations in the world, namely Mesopotamia, Indus, Mesoamerica, China and Greek-Rome, signed the declaration plaque.

The historical event was symbolised with the handing over of the declaration plaque by an archaeological expert from the University of Oxford, Professor Dr Stephen Oppenheimer, to the Director of the Global Archaeological Research Centre at Universiti Sains Malaysia, Professor Dr Mokhtar Saidin.

Coordinator of the Old Kedah Search Programme, Nur Dini Mohd Noh, also opined that the inclusion of the new facts on Old Kedah in school history textbooks was crucial to provide better understanding of the matter among members of society.

“It has to be mentioned that Old Kedah does not belong to Kedah, but the country. Hence, information has to be disseminated that civilisation ownership does not belong to the state. It is owned by the country,” she added.

Meanwhile, Mokhtar said what should be done now was to complete the data on the civilisation as well as update the existing data.

He said since the discovery of Old Kedah in 2007, the centre had been compiling more holistic data for inclusion in the existing learning syllabus.

However, the task was time consuming as there were many more archaeological sites yet to be excavated due to financial setbacks, he added.