Archive for October, 2010




The announcement by the Minister of Education that History is to be made a compulsory subject in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination in 2013 could not have come at a more significant time. It is significant for two (2) simple reasons:

  • the nation’s citizenry, especially the young must be fully cognizant of their own history
  • History is an engaging subject if taught with clarity and imagination

An important aspect of the subject is its descriptive and explicatory nature where language is used in all its forms and functions viz to record, tabulate, list, describe, explain, illustrate, summarise the events and deeds of the nation’s peoples in the past, and view them against the  nation’s development in the present. Here, the point to be stressed is that the events of the present will make up the developing history of the country.

Students will therefore be exposed to the widest use of language in their reading and references and  in the teacher explanation in the classroom. This includes the grammar,vocabulary, turns of phrase, idiomatic expression and pronounciation. The students  will therefore be trained to show the same flair for language in their oral or written response.

As History lends itself to interpretation, the teachers can take the opportunity to lead the classroom discussion  where students can be grouped for better interaction and participation. The students’ thinking and reasoning processes will be stimulated as they use language to present their arguments orally, in an essay or a project paper. History is not an exact science and the evaluation of the students’ work can therefore be less exacting. The proportion for the subjective analysis of the events  and the deeds surrounding the protagonists and antagonists in history on the one hand, and objective statement of  the facts on the other can be determined by the education experts

The total immersion into the nation’s socio-cultural and political milieu through language in the History classroom will guarantee the widest possible development of the children’s knowledge and experience of their own country and its interactions with the world. This will in turn contribute to their development into rational, thinking  and wise adults.

All these arguments provides a compelling rationale for the teaching of History in English. The honourable Minister and his team will gain the support of a large segment of Malaysian society if he also announces that History will be taught in English, a move that will raise the much-lamented decline in the standard of English and communication in the country.

It is imperative that the Minister of Education, the ministry officials, academicians, teachers and students consider seriously the advantages of teaching and learning History in English.


Previous Post





Date:    Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Time:  9am – 4.30pm

Venue:  Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club


General Aim 

Citizen and civil society forums such as VOICES OF PEACE, CONSCIENCE & REASON are effective conduits for nation building. They serve as the moral conscience and voice of the people to generate change in society and provide the necessary checks and balances to programmed development in the public and private sectors.

As an inclusive channel of communication, they bring together diverse groups with alternative viewpoints through a unified body of discourse. As an apolitical lobby they contribute non-partisan input and feedback on current issues and concerns. As an impartial pressure group they manifest citizen efforts to monitor untoward developments and prevent abuse and corruption in society.

As an effective task-force in nation building they lend their multifarious talents, skills and expertise to organise and implement socio-cultural programmes and activities for peace and national unity.

PCORE represents a group of citizens who embrace and share the notion of peace as the way forward to achieve the national goals of unity and integration. Peace is the universal path to meaningful dialogue, communication and discourse among diverse groups of people.  

Objectives of Forum

  • To create a civil society channel for peace building efforts
  • To develop  a body of discourse built on moral conscience and reason
  • To stimulate and encourage positive affirmations for nation building among diverse groups
  • To propose unifying programmes and activities within and among local communities 

Topics of Discussion



Effective participation and constructive contribution from the nation’s leaders and role models can bring about dynamic changes in the socio-cultural and political milieu

  • Politicians in establishing stability and harmony
  • The media’s social responsibility in shaping public discourse
  • Educators in creating a rational, thinking society
  • Community and spiritual leaders in instilling ethics and moral values
  • Business leaders in building a dynamic model of  CSR


Professor Dr Chandra Muzaffar, Tan Sri Jawhar Hassan, Tan Sri Raymond Navaratnam,  Professor Dr Noraini Osman, Professor Dr Lim Teik Ghee


Dato’ Dr Ismail Noor




Merging traditional value systems and modes of thinking with liberal, modernist approaches to impact societal development

  • Harmonising generational differences in the family and community
  • Youth as the catalyst for positive societal change
  • Technology and its impact on modes of communication
  •  Creating meaningful spaces for volunteerism and social activism
  • Defining core values and commonalitities among diverse groups


Encik Kamarul  Haron, Cik Tricia Yeoh, Encik Tim Fernandez, Dr Hartini Zainuddin,  Encik Anas Zubedy


Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir



Initiatives to be taken at the community, organisational and individual levels to promote peace and unity  

1.    Community networking and neighbourliness

Facilitator: Professor Dr Yang Farina/ Cik Melor Mokhtar

2.    Celebrating diversity and interfaith relations

Facilitator: Pastor Sivin Kit/ Encik Rabin Nijhar

3.    Synergising the school and home in the education of the young  

Facilitator: Datin Noor  Azimah/ Puan Zainab Majid 

4.    Creating a robust environment for improving health and wellness

Facilitator: Cik Fouzia HA/ Puan Tessie Lim  

5.    Uplifting socio-economic status through education and training

Facilitator: Associate Professor Dr Madeline Berma/ Puan Masitah Babjan 

6.    Sustaining and preserving the natural and cultural heritage

Facilitator: Professor Dr Farida Shah/ Associate Professor Dr Kalaivani Nadarajah  

7.    Promoting effective language and communication strategies

Facilitator: Datin Halimah Mohd Said/ Encik Philip Mathews 

8.    Ensuring fairness, justice and legal equity

Facilitator: Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan/ Encik Quintin Rozario 

9.    Building integrity and ethical standards

Facilitator: Encik Philip Koh/  Dr Asma Abdullah   

10. Consolidating national integration and unity

Facilitator: Encik KK Tan/ Puan Rina Lia Abdul Rahim


Bahasa Malaysia & English

Target Audience (200-250)

  • private individuals
  • community leaders  and social activists
  • invited representatives from professional bodies and organisations – government officials and corporate figures, media (print, electronic and broadcast), journalists and bloggers, PTAs and NGOs
  • academicians, students (institutions of higher learning) and youth bodies



Registration: 8.00am– 8.45am


Welcoming Address: 9.00am – 9.10am

Datin Halimah Mohd Said

Keynote Address: 9.10am – 9.30am

HRH Raja Zarith Sofiah binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah

Panel Discussion I and Q&A : 9.30am – 11.00am

Panel Discussion II  and Q&A: 11.00am – 12.30pm

Refreshments are available outside the conference hall throughout the day

Presentation of 2 songs celebrating Unity and Peace: Encik Rizal Ridzuan

Lunch: 12.45pm– 2.00pm

Round-Table Tracks: 2.00pm – 3.00pm

Summary Presentation: 3.00pm – 4.00pm

Resolutions & Recommendations: 4.00pm– 4.30pm

Tea:  4.30PM



Chairperson: Datin Halimah Mohd Said

Vice Chairperson: Professor Dr Farida Shah

Committee Members: Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir                               

                                   Professor Dr Yang Farina Abdul Aziz                               

                                   Associate Professor Dr Madeline Berma                              

                                   Associate Professor Dr Kalaivani Nadarajah                               

                                   Dr Asma Abdullah                               

                                   Datuk Atikah Adom                               

                                   Cik Fouzia Hassan Abdullah                               

                                    Puan Masitah Babjan





The Prime Minister’s call for the voices of reason to resonate throughout the country is indeed timely!

Moderate Malaysians must come to the fore and speak up lest they want the growing voices of discontent to prevail in their bid to destroy the peace and harmony in the country. Concerned citizens who love their motherland must demonstrate their patriotism by lending their voices to diminish the efforts  of extremist groups and individuals to exert their influence on the vulnerable and weak.

Under the guise of protecting the people’s rights, and promoting fairness and justice there has arisen a culture of  verbal slander and abuse aimed at destroying the national equilibrium. Under the guise of freedom of speech and modern liberties there is a growing habit of decrying anything and everything that the authorities are trying to do. It seems as though the government has done no right despite the tremendous progress that the nation and its people have made in the first half-century of its development.

On the Internet and alternative media, dissident voices choose to unravel policies and programmes that have gone wrong, parrying aside the numerous successes that the country has achieved. The new modus operandi is to shame and blame  by applying the wildest analogies to support an argument. The newly emerging discourses are heaped with criticism and cynicism instead of being helpful and constructive.

It is time indeed for the voices of peace, conscience and reason to articulate an alternative national discourse that builds and constructs. Citizen and civil society movements must lend their voices to generate maturity and wisdom among the people as the nation moves into its next phase of development. Public forums and discussions must not only encourage positive affirmations but also manifest them in concrete outreach programmes and activities on the ground. The cry for unity and harmony must resonate at all levels of society, be it at the community, organisational or individual level.

Malaysian voices of peace, conscience and reason must prevail!


October 2010