We have sacrificed excellence for mediocrity, meritocracy for overdose of social reengineering

| Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi | Opinion | 15 June 2016 | Asia Samachar |

AS-OpinionThe horrendous factual errors pertaining to Sikhism (i.e. Sikhism being founded by Kabir, Sikhism being a blend of Hinduism and Islam, and Guru Nanak’s date of death as 1533) by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) as reflected on a slide of the Asian and Islamic Civilization module is no surprise to me.

It is the recurring symptom of the root cause of declining academic standards in our public universities over the last few decades: We have sacrificed excellence for mediocrity and meritocracy for an overdose of social reengineering. Currently, more than 90% of the top management and deans in our public universities are all drawn from one ethnic group, no thanks to excessive affirmative action. What then can one expect of the quality of academic modules and teaching in our public universities?

Let me repeat what I have been saying consistently since 1990: Our political leaders should have the courage to promote greater meritocracy and excellence in all fields, including our higher education system, to ensure a bright future for the next generation of “anak bangsa Malaysia”.

SEE ALSO: Arrest author of insulting UTM slides, says former lecturer 

SEE ALSO: The Sikhs: A model community

Unfortunately, no one is listening. It does appear then (many people indeed think so) that the mantra over the last few decades has been as follows: “Quality or work performance does not really matter. What ultimately matters is our own people (read as “one particular ethnic group”) are promoted and occupy the top positions.” If this is indeed true, the future looks terribly bleak for our beloved nation.

Coming back to Sikhism, the Sikhs consider themselves the disciples of their Ten Gurus (religious teachers) beginning with Guru Nanak (1469-1539) and ending with Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708). Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak in the late 15th century AD.

Although Sikhism bears some resemblance with the teachings of Hinduism and Islam, it is a separate and distinctive religion. As affirmed by the late W. H. McLeod (a leading authority on Sikhism), Guru Nanak “propounded original teachings, established a new religion, and gathered round himself a following drawn from both Hindus and Muslims.” Guru Nanak espoused the fundamental teachings of Sikhism which are often summarised as earning one’s bread by honest labour (kirt karna), sharing one’s earning with the needy (vand chakhna), and meditating on the holy Name of Lord Divine (nam japna).

The holy scripture of the Sikhs is the Guru Granth Sahib (also known as Adi Granth) which is regarded as the eternal Guru.


Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi
Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi

Dr. Ranjit Singh Malhi, Kuala Lumpur

[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE! Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]


Arrest author of insulting UTM slides, says former lecturer (Asia Samachar, 15 June 2016)

Hindus, Sikhs in Malaysia appalled with university textbook ridiculing their faiths (Asia Samachar, 13 June 2016)

Singapore interfaith buka puasa by kidney support group (Asia Samachar, 9 June 2016)

President Obama to appoint Sikh to presidential advisory council (Asia Samachar, 14 May 2016)

The Sikhs: A model community (Asia Samachar, 21 April 2016)

Interfaith council welcomes Malaysia’s Federal Court decision on demarcation of civil/syariah courts jurisdiction (Asia Samachar, 11 Feb 2016)

PM appoints Jagir, Dr Sarjit to Malaysia’s interfaith commit (Asia Samachar, 4 Feb 2016)

Conversion ruling in Malaysian court affects all, Sikhs included (Asia Samachar, 6 Jan 2015)

MGC passionately protects religious rights of Sikhs, others in Malaysia (Asia Samachar, 19 Nov 2015)

Surjit joins Singapore’s Presidential Council for Minority Rights (Asia Samachar,  2 Apr 2015)

Redefining Vaisakhi (Asia Samachar, 16 April 2016)