How Sikhs dress, so says Malaysian history textbook for 12 year olds

| Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | 2 Dec 2015 | Asia Samachar | 

Malhi EtnikSikh 1512a2

This is how a Sikh couple looks like, if you go by a Malaysian history textbook for the 12 year olds. The publisher must have gone to some corners of the world that most Sikhs may have skipped.

The blunder was highlighted by Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi in a letter to The Star (2 Dec 2015), Malaysia’s largest selling English daily newspaper.

In the letter, he mentioned the ‘unbelievable and erroneous depiction’ of a supposed Sikh couple.

The Standard Six History textbook is published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP), a 59-year old Government statutory body tasked to promote the Malay language or Bahasa Melayu.

The letter in full:

Embarrassing factual errors in history book

I WOULD like to draw the attention of the Education Ministry to the numerous factual and spelling errors (besides the now famous erroneous location of Malacca in the map on page 8) in the recently published Standard Six History textbook, a shortcoming which has unfortunately been consistently repeated since 1989.

It does appear that the ministry has not learnt from past mistakes, and that mediocrity is the order of the day.

Among the major factual errors are: (i) Umno (United Malays National Organisation) is referred to as United Malays Nation Organisation; (ii) MIC (Malayan Indian Congress) is referred to as Malayan Indian Assosiation (sic); (iii) Tunku Abdul Rahman proposed the formation of the federation of Malaysia in 1963; and (iv) one of the roles of the Malaysian Prime Minister is to implement all national policies (actually done by the public servants; the Prime Minister is the head of government).

Another major blunder (page 69) is the unbelievable and erroneous depiction of a Sikh couple. I consulted Sardar Autar Singh, secretary-general of the Coalition of Malaysian Sikh Organisations, who concurred with me and was horrified with this terrible blunder. The man’s turban is uncharacteristic of that typically worn by a Sikh. He is also dressed in a dhoti which is not part of a Sikh man’s attire.

Additionally, the man is not wearing a bangle on the right wrist. The woman’s features seem to be more of a Mongoloid. Worse still, her dupatta (scarf) is not one that is typically worn by Sikh women.

Among the spelling errors are “assosiation”, “Hussien Onn” and “Vasakhi”. The textbook wrongly refers to Taoism as “Tao” instead of the correct term, “Taoisme”.

Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka apparently has introduced (page 69) a new Malay word i.e. “turban” (instead of “serban”; what a horrendous blunder which reflects poor editing).

Finally, the poor editing is also reflected in wrongly using full stops for captions with incomplete sentences.


[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website:]


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  1. It does not take rockets sciencr that Mara level aducation has resulted in such rubbish…comming out of this part of the world…i am a wee bit suprised they have not added a mug of beer in the hands….. of those depicted as “sikhs”.BUT WHAT amazes is that it has taken some 26 years for Sikhs to realise this false assertions.It makes me wonder..what were the Sikh “leaders” of Sikh organisations doing all along:apart from being busy being “leaders and collecting monies …and datuk ships. …”.perhaps they were being paid all these grants to keep quiet? wow…leaders shall we say? Or no Sikhs are teachers or professors. ..that is for sure .Very bizzare that it has been going on for 26 years right under the noses. …..Questions arise.Do Ikh children nor go to schools? Do Sikhs not work in schools??

    SIKHS have been conducting great researches we are told.Is it not possible to keep a simple eye on what books are used in school..if they mention Sikhs…is the information correct???If not,surely by1990 issues would have been brought up to rectify such starling misleading ertors.

    I guess,it is better late than never..only 26 years later!!