Revisiting Penyata Razak 1956

by Asril Zakariah

Revisiting Penyata Razak 1956

“Tujuan dasar pelajaran didalam negeri ini adalah bermaksud hendak menyatukan murid-murid dari semua bangsa didalam negara ini dengan menggunakan satu peraturan pelajaran yang meliputi semua bangsa dengan menggunakan bahasa kebangsaan sebagai bahasa penghantar yang besar, walaupun perkara ini tidak dapat dilaksanakan serta-merta melainkan hendaklah dibuat secara beransur-ansur.”2nd1

 “Satu daripada kemahuan dasar pelajaran Persekutuan Tanah Melayu ini ialah mengubah corak Tanah Melayu. Kami berpendapat bahawa caranya supaya sempurna perkara ini ialah dengan jalan menyamakan sukatan pelajaran semua sekolah.”

 “Memeriksa akan dasar pelajaran Negeri Persekutuan Tanah Melayu yang ada sekarang dan mengesyorkan  sebarang perubahan kepadanya atau menyesuaikan dengannya yang mana wajib, dengan tujuan hendak menubuhkan satu peraturan pelajaran kebangsaan yang munasabah yang dapat diterima oleh rakyat didalam Persekutuan Tanah Melayu ini amnya dan dapat memenuhi kemahuan mereka serta menggalakkan kemajuan mereka sebagai suatu bangsa  didalam bidang kebudayaan masyarakat, ekonomi dan politik, dengan tujuan hendak menjadikan bahasa Melayu  itu bahasa kebangsaan  negeri ini dan dalam pada itu memelihara bahasa dan kebudayaan lain-lain bangsa yang ada didalam negeri ini.”

Penyata Razak: Paragraph 12, 115 and 1(a)



About 50 years ago, the Penyata Razak was made with the intention to create an education system that is capable to promote national and racial unity (as stated above). The government had tried few times to realize the dream expressed under Penyata Razak but yet to no avail. Each time an effort is made to amend the education system, interested parties will bark in furore against it thus stalling the dream and causes further racial tension and divide.


Few days ago Mukhriz Mahathir made a statement with regards to the local education system. The news reported that he is in the opinion that the country’s education system should be made in a way to help foster racial unity by scrapping the vernacular school system. A bold statement from a junior politician who is trying to climb up the Malaysian political ladder.


For that statement he is now barked at and besieged by criticisms and even threatened by legal action.


As for me, I agree that the Malaysian education system is flawed. The existence of several types of school such as the sekolah kebangsaan and sekolah jenis kebangsaan has caused to allow Malaysians to be segregated in their own racial-based community right from their early years of childhood.


Any person regardless of race may enter into any school they want. In principle, Malays can enrol into Chinese or Tamil schools and vice versa. However in reality, the situation is totally different as most school-children are herded to enrol into schools that seem to represent their respective races.


Personally, I believe that I am one of the victims of this flawed education system.


Since my early years I have lived in a totally multiracial neighbourhood. I befriended every possible child my age regardless of their racial-cultural background. Even though we hardly can communicate with each other we played together, we laughed together, and we cried together.


There was a feeling of togetherness between us.


Things then slowly change once all of us start schooling. We went to separate schools according to our cultural background and that marks the start of rift in our friendship. We became further apart as we tend to be selective of our companions by preferring those who are of the same race. And further apart we become until the friendship and unity once enjoyed is no more.


The segregation is of course not expressly imposed by the current education system. But I do believe that it does allow racial segregation to occur. It’s about time that the dream contained in Penyata Razak be fulfilled. It is not an easy task, but it has to be done for the sake of national unity.


Amend the education system. My long lost friendship with former mates maybe impossible to be rekindled. But I do hope that the younger Malaysian generation be given the chance, through the education system, to rekindle the light of the beacon of unity.


Kindly read the paragraphs extracted from the Penyata Razak and then ask yourself whether it is the best way or not.