by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, January 14, 1986:
Will Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed’s book, ‘The Malay Dilemma’ be one of the prescribed books STPM students are expected to study for the new General Studies paper?
The Malaysian Examinations Council (MEG) Chairman, Royal Professor Ungku Aziz, said that from next year, the STEM General Paper would be replaced with a General Studies paper, which is aimed at producing a ‘thinking society’.
Unfortunately, Royal Professor Ungku Aziz, has not thrown any light on whether the STPM General Paper last November which used an extensive extract of Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed’s ‘The Malay Dilemma’ represented the new directions towards producing a thinking society which the MEC is heading.
Will Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed’s book, ‘The Malay Dilemma’ be one of the prescribed books STPM students would be advised to read and study if they are to do well in the new General Studies paper?
To be fair to the STPM candidates last year, and to all present and future STPM students, Royal Professor Ungku Aziz must explain the full rationale for using an extract from ‘The Malay Dilemma’ for the General Paper last year.
Firstly, is this the MEC policy or an oversight because of the ‘zdalousness’ of some examiner. In either case, a full explanation is called for. If the latter, the question is how the political views of one or a group of examiners could get their views into the STPM general paper, If it represented MEC policy, then MEC must justify its action, which tantamounts to disseminating the assimilation concepts and ideas as expounded in ‘The Malay Dilemma’ among students in schools.
The excuse that the using of an extract from ‘The Malay Dilemma’ is merely to test the thinking and critical faculties of STPM students is completely unacceptable. By the same token, is the MEC prepared to announce that in this year’s STPM General Paper or in the General Studies paper beginning next year, the MEC would be using extracts from my book ‘Time Bombs in Malaysia’ or ‘The Dangerous Eighties’ or Dr. Chandra Muzaffar’s ‘The Protector* to test the thinking and critical faculties of the candidates.
Furthermore, parents are concerned that students who answered the STPM General Paper on the extract from ‘The Malay Dilemma’ would be penalised if they speak truthfully, expressing opposition to the ideas propounded Try the Prime Minister 15 years ago, and which was banned by the government for 12 years!
When the STPM General Paper controversy over the use of an extract from’The Malay Dilemma’ erupted, Royal Professor Ungku Aziz was overseas for a long holiday. Now that he is back, he must give the Malaysian public, parents and the STPM students an explanation about the entire incident. This is all the more warranted as the Education Minister, Datuk Abdullah Badawi, had publicly disclaimed responsibility for the MEG’S duties in setting examinations questions. I believe Professor Ungku Aziz believes in the principle of public accountability and that Maiaysians win not be left with a situation no one is prepared to accept responsibility and to explain the rationale for the use of the book ‘The Malay Dilemma’ for STPM general paper to the Malaysian public.