Arrest author of insulting UTM slides, says former lecturer

Malaysia | 15 June  2016 | Asia Samachar |
Former teacher trainer Ravinder Singh - PHOTO / FMT
Former teacher trainer Ravinder Singh – PHOTO / FMT

A former teacher trainer has called upon the police to investigate and arrest those behind the slides used by a Malaysian public university to teach students about the Hindu and Sikh faiths.

Former Sultan Abdul Halim Teachers’ Training College lecturer Ravinder Singh said the facts presented in the slides were not only offensive, but also grossly inaccurate.

“Sikhism promotes kesopanan (obedience), honesty, sincerity, not cheating. It also teaches us to not insult other religions, let alone criticise them.

“With the slides out in public, one can only wonder what the academia is teaching our young in colleges and universities,” he was quoted by news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT) when met by reporters at the Jalan Patani police station in Penang yesterday (14 June 2016).

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

Ravinder, 73, had earlier lodged a police report on the matter, urging the men in blue to apprehend those who had authored the slides.

The slides, used by the teaching staff at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), grabbed the attention of the public when they were widely shared via the social media. They contained inaccurate and seemingly demeaning references to the two faiths.

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 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.

In a statement yesterday, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia vice-chancellor Prof Wahid Omar had expressed ‘utmost regret and deep remorse for the lack of sensitivity on the part of our lecturers teaching the TITAS subject’.

In the same FMT report, Ravinder hoped the Government would vet the content used in the National Civics Bureau (BTN) so that similar slides would not be used.

“I have just heard that 20,000 teachers will be summoned for a patriotism course by the BTN. It is imperative that authorities sieve through the syllabus that will be used to prevent a reoccurrence of insults to the minorities,” he was quoted.


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