Simpang Renggam MP Maszlee Malik has sent a letter of demand to Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki for blaming the Pakatan Harapan government over the contents of a Form 4 History textbook which Asyraf claimed “glorified communists”.
Maszlee served as the education minister when Harapan was in power from May 2018 to February 2020.
Asyraf had refused to apologise even though the Education Ministry confirmed that the contents were updated in April 2018, when Umno and BN led the government.
He first raised the issue in a Facebook post on Feb 24.
He alleged that two pages on the role of radical Malay leaders in the fight for independence and the Malayan Peoples’ Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) fight against the Japanese occupiers were tantamount to “glorifying” communists.
He also claimed that this was the agenda of the then Harapan government, particularly the DAP in zooming in on its “Malaysian Malaysia” slogan.
Scholar Syed Husin Ali, who is also former PKR deputy president, had pointed out the textbook presented a balanced view as it highlighted both the communists’ fight against the Japanese occupiers and their subsequent violence against the local populace.
Asyraf did not highlight the page detailing the violence committed by the communists.
Maszlee, in his letter of demand, asked that Asyraf remove the Facebook post containing his allegations about the Form 4 History textbook.
He also wants Asyraf to seek the removal of any reproduction of the said allegations on social media.
Furthermore, Maszlee wants Asyraf to provide a written apology, to be published on his Facebook page and in the newspapers.
Maszlee said the Facebook post was defamatory towards him and is also seeking compensation from Asyraf.
“This is part of the legal action that I have initiated to put a stop to the culture of defamation which was also tinged with racism,” he said in a statement.
He added that Malaysians are tired of such attempts that can threaten race relations.
“Only cowards use defamation as a weapon and cheap propaganda to gain political support.
In a brief remark on Twitter, Asyraf Wajdi said he had at the time of writing yet to receive the letter of demand from Maszlee, but said his team of lawyers will go through the content of the letter and recommend subsequent actions based on law.
“Want to use the law, we find the truth through it. Other matters are no longer relevant! #bukutekssejarah” he exclaimed in the same tweet.
Separately on Facebook over the same legal letter which he said he had yet to receive, Asyraf Wajdi said Umno Youth will continue to defend the struggle started by 73 non-governmental organisations under the Pembela coalition of Islamist groups and a secretariat for NGOs that rejected the Form Four History textbook.
He added that Umno Youth is urging for the Education Ministry to retract and amend the Form Four History textbook published under the Secondary School Standard Curriculum (KSSM) scheme.