Hindus, Sikhs in Malaysia appalled with university textbook ridiculing their faiths

Malaysia | 13 June  2016 | Asia Samachar |
Erroneous presentation slides on the Hindu and Sikh faiths from UTM, a Malaysian public university.
Erroneous presentation slides on the Hindu and Sikh faiths from UTM, a Malaysian public university.

Hindus and Sikhs in Malaysia must have been a dissapointed lot when they were greeted with grabs supposedly from a Malaysian public university text book to teach them about the other faiths.

The grabs, taking the social media by storm, contained ridiculous references to the Hindu and Sikh faith, begging the question how they  passed all the supposed checks expected of an institution of higher learning.

The communities will be watching the reaction of the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) management to see if they take the necessary action against the lecturers responsible for the mess.

“I have just spoken to the VC of the university and he has acknowledged the mistake. He has also stated that the necessary changes to the module concerned will be corrected expeditiously,” said Malaysian Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan in a Facebook posting today (13 June 2016).

The slides were probably from a UTM-developed text book to teach Asian and Islamic Civilisations (TITAS), a compulsory subject for all students at all Malaysian universities, whether public or private.

It suggests that the Sikh faith was introduced by Kabir and later spread by Guru Nanak. And who is Kabir? Apparently, Kabir did not thoroughly understand Islam, hence he got influenced by the Hindu ways.

The actual text, in Malay: “Dikemukakan oleh Kabir yang kemudiannya dikembangkan oleh Guru Nanak….Kabir yang tidak memahami secara mendalam ajaran Islam terpengaruh dengan persekitaran kehidupan masyarakat Hindu telah merangka gagasan awal agama Sikh ini.

Bhagat Kabir is one of the Muslim saints whose writings are contained in the Sikh scripture called the Guru Granth Sahib.

The reference notes on the Hindu faith were downright derogatory. It suggested that Islam introduced courteousness to the Hindus in India, and thought them the importance of hygiene.

Islam memperkenalkan kepada masyarakat Hindi di India erti kesopanan dalam kehidupan…Islam juga telah mengajar masyarakat Hindu tentang pentingnya kebersihan tubuh badan dan penjagaan kesihatan,” read the slide.

Public response

Judging from the hundreds of responses to his posting, a segment of the public is in no mood to let pass yet another seemingly blunder in the nation’s education system.

“The issue isn’t really about ‘confusion’ or ‘hurt’. The content is wrong. Full stop. Universities cannot afford to make such errors simply because to them everything must be supported with evidence i.e literature,” said Jasvir Kaur, who says she is a lecturer at a Malaysian higher institution, in a comment on the deputy minister’s Facebook page.

Elezabeth Vashini, who identifies herself as a maintenance engineer who studied microelectronic engineering at UTM, suggests that there is more than meets the eye.

“I suggest….. [you] take sometime to read on the book.. We had to study two semesters of these rubbish!,” she commented.

Another comment, by Malvinder Gill, says: “What nonsense. It’s not an ‘error’. Take action against those who prepared the modules.”

In a separate response, Coalition of Malaysian Sikh Organisations (CMSO) Secretary General Bhai Autar Singh, a posting on his personal Facebook page, commented that this latest and previous issues with regards to the minority communities in Malaysia, raised from time to time, beg certain questions.

He raised two questions:

1. Are the contents of text books used in our educational institutions that refer to the religion, culture, practices and way of life of various communities checked and approved for inclusion by qualified bodies representing the communities? If not, why not?

2. If errors are found in these books, who corrects them? Are these corrections done with the consent and approval of the approved bodies of the relevant communities? If not, why not?

In another comment on Kamalanathan’s Facebook, teacher trainer Ranjit Singh said: “This definitely not a mistake. Find out who are the writers and the editors. If the authority is serious..charge them in court.”


[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: www.asiasamachar.com]


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  1. I think Muniandy should read the Srimad Bhagavatam and the SIkh texts before he comes to the conclusion of labelling Hinduism and Sikhism as NOT a religion.This debate started during the era of Brahminical rule and ended with the British era.The British only understood Hinduism after they left the country in 1948.It took the very Brahmin to let out the secret that Hinduism did not belong to them.Sri Caitanya brought back the depth and the proper understanding of Hinduism as a religion.He had many debates with the Muslim scholars of his era and converted many Muslims back to Hinduism.So please get your facts right,Muniandy.Sikhism and Hinduism are religions,but one is ancient and the other modern.Both fits the time.

  2. Hinduism and Sikhism is NOT a religion.It is indeed a way of LIFE.Hindu is a persian word indicating the inhabitant of Hindustan.Hindu is a geographical and cultural identity whereas Sikhism is a philosophy.Even an earth worm born in Hindustan is a Hindu plus a white baby who is born in Hindustan is also a Hindu.So dear people please get your facts right.Punjabi Sikhs are Hindus by geography and culture even though they dont follow any Brahminical rituals or worship idols.

  3. Dr Naik may have a photographic memory….but he cannot interpretate text of other religion to suit his taste. He should not forget his roots in the first place. How can he act God to forgive anyone’s past by just pronouncing Islam? Who is he? People today get impressed with someone rattling away verses written in Holy Scriptures. I agree with Vaisanava Das that all the Hindu and Sikh scriptures need to be translated but under strict supervision.

  4. It is time to translate the Upanisads,the Puranas ,the Vedas and all the Hindu texts into Bahasa Malaysia so that the Malays and the Malay speaking World(especially Malaysia) will come to know why the Hindus(the word first used by Muslims and emphasised by Dr Naik failing to use the real term Sanatana Dharma}worship idols and then they discard idols when they become self realized and see how much wealth they can learn in the art of politeness and courtesy besides the countless words from Sanskrit that they have used freely by the Munshis and now changed in spelling and meaning to suit their taste.We have to go our neighbour,Indonesia, and learn how even with the coming of Islam they just could not wipe out the stamp of Hinduism and the way politeness had been imbued into their populace.A majority ruled country cannot just brush aside the depth of any religion and ridicule them to suit their whims and fancies as shown by an institution such as UTM.Now it may be their duty to bring scholars from India and with the collaboration of Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka to start the work which not only will benefit the Muslims including the very Indians in Malaysia who are not well versed in English.We should not forget the Sufis from India who are greatly influenced by Indian saints and experts in both religions unlike Dr.Naik who is more slanted to bring down all religions which does not concur with Islam.

  5. Khalsa Diwan Malaysia condemns the deliberate and blatant misplaced presentation of Historical facts by the said Lecturer of UTM. Wonder where he got his degree from and how he got into the prestigious UTM .
    Leave alone the facts, his slides smell of racial and religious discrimination. The Government has always warned to be careful and not sow such hatred.
    Diwan is of the view that a common stand be made by all Gurdwaras [ through Gurdwara council ] and all NGOs to send a strong signal to the University and copies to various relevant authorities.

  6. Yes Muslims used to bath and cleans themselves 3 times a day in the dasert and they had to come to India to teach indians how to be clean. Hello, why do muslims curcumcise if they were so clean. These Malays lost their culture eg. Mandi Safar, their sarong kabaya (except for Mrs. Mahathir) , their joget etc and they copycat the arabs in their attire in tropical humid heat wearing synthatic material and they claim to be better then the Arabs. They are alos losing their………..


    The Sikh institution should demand a full page apology in all major newspapers frm the said authorities. This issue should be splash all over the media. No one have the right to comment about another religion. Full stop. Before that our Sikhs brothers n sisters shld decide 1 single religious body in Malaysia as all future reference point for future religion disputes. Now we have a few bodies but without jurisdiction for all Mysia Sikhs. Pls appoint 1 single institution. Example, one simple issue regarding the case of Sikhs students being allowed to keep their beard took so many years to solve. Shame on our Sikh leaders. It is a non compromise issue. But our people needed appoitment to talk to the Education Dept. Just issue a newspaper statement to the government not to mess with other religion, esp Sikhism.

  8. No universities can make an ERROR and such facts can be challenged on legal grounds. The fact that it has been deliberated by a university of repute is a shame. The waves of the shakles of religious regidity and prevailing intimidating practise sems so subtle that it getting vety clear that a direct attact is made to ruin other religious believes in Malaysia. Where on earth has this so called professor obtained his research? As we very well know of the mechanism of discussion and double checking system in IPTA OR IPTS on facts and emphasis on reference requisit. Unless this person dares to stand by to support his statement. He has to be seriously dealt with. These kind of people honestly has snatched the peace of this world.

    We the sikhs need to write a patition to the VC of UTM signed by all the Gurdwaras and the Sikh NGO. Supported by our Sikh political leaders. Gurdwara Council should initiate this wave and protest our rights and to practice and preach without prejudice and interference from any other religious sectors. Letters from all Gurdwaras should reach the Council duely signed not only by the president or secretary but also the entire Sangat. We need to showcase our voices. We need to Standby our founder Baba Guru Nanak Dev Ji .

  9. As I read all this, I tremble with fear. I love my country and long to return. I am willing to take a 70% pay cut. I am willing to face a demotion. I honestly want to contribute my expertise in complex health and investigative services . But really, is there a future for me, for my children and for their children? No, when I see such retarded books, written by half educated MARA supported, individuals of whom great deal is known from places like Brighton or Nottingham where most of these so called “graduate”and return home to write “books”on subject far often beyond their abilities and understanding.

    I can deal with the lack of democracy, the lack of press freedom, the ISA, our inefficient and bureaucratic civil service, our awful manners and even a “little “corruption that has reached the PMs offices as well.. But I cannot deal with racism and simple uneducated empty arrogance about their race versus others;in my homeland.I have said this before, I am surprised the world has not awoken to the apartheired that goes within Malaysia.

    There is a big problem with ignorant racism in Malaysia, it’s mostly in the sense of positive racism and the ‘Bumi’ status (cheaper houses, lower interest rates, easier acamedic lives and so on..,,which it appears now has become a license to tell lies about other religions as it pleases.

    This is supposed to b UNIVERSITY education, where books by those that lack total knowledge and sensitive understanding about others are used with impunity.Who are overseeing and approving such nonsensical books?Are representative bodies of other religions and races consulted for accuracy before being utilised for teaching, yes I mean, for TEACHING.

    Somewhere , someone may have a fake degree to not have honest sensitive and fair brains to allow such filth to be taught.I wonder what will happen, if it was taught, a camel in Saudi, called Mahmood found a religion.

    This is a very good lesson for Sikhs to learn and understand from.Today ,we have media of all sorts by which we hear ,we read and then we response if it is untrue abt us,as this camel follower ‘s writings show.

    150-200 years ago,when similarly books like the false and fake dsm were introduced,most Sikhs were uneducated.They probably never heard sometimes for years OR NEVER UNDERSTOOD what has taken place,when false entries were made false books produced like the dsm,the names of Gurus used with falsehood .This proves just how much Sikh history and religion has been polluted by semi hindu nirmalas of udasi cults…who were in CHARGE of out gurduaras.For those who are still sitting on the dense. ..learn how if this is not challenged and changed in 50 years time ..people like this ignorant nerd will be growing up to say kabir founded Sikh religion !This is exactly what has happened with the fake dsm.Learn yourself be alert from the propoganda of false dsm

  10. Shameful for an institution of higher learning to make such blunders. Surprised at the contents of each religion.

  11. WJK
    I feel it high time we sikh start looking at these kind of slanders seriously and take proper action. We have alots of leader who goes to any extend fighting for various post in gurdwaras other associations, where are they now n what action been taken. Get the media involve n take legal action on the writer, intitution n MOE if need so that these stupid fellow know how to deal with sensentive issues pertending other in the country. We have 140 over gurdwaras in the country get all sleeping PC (prebanthk community ) to file in police report on this matter at their respected area , i am sure MGC can help them in this.