MGC, Hindu Sangam meet Malaysian education minister on erroneous university slides

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| Putrajaya, Malaysia | 23 June  2016 | Asia Samachar |
MEETING: Malaysian Minister of Higher Education Idris Jusoh (second from right) with (L-R) MGC representive Balbeer Singh, MGC President Jagir Singh, Malaysian Hindu Sangam President Mohan Shan and Deputy President Gopal - PHOTO / MGC
MEETING: Malaysian Minister of Higher Education Idris Jusoh (second from right) with (L-R) MGC representive Balbeer Singh, MGC President Jagir Singh, Malaysian Hindu Sangam President Mohan Shan and Deputy President Gopal – PHOTO / MGC

Sikh and Hindu representatives today met the Malaysian Higher Education Minister on the issue of the ‘factually false and inaccurate statements’ by University Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) deployed to teach the Sikh and Hindu faiths.

“The Minister has assured us that UTM will take action based on an independent report, which should be out within a week,” Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) President Jagir Singh tells Asia Samachar.

Jagir and Malaysian Hindu Sangam President Mohan Shan led a four-men delegation to meet the minister,  Idris Jusoh, at his office in Putrajaya.

“He has also assuared us that they will not tolerate such things moving forward,” Jagir added in the telephone conversation.

The meeting follows an uproar from the two communities when it was revealed that lecturers from UTM, a publicly funded university based in Skudai, Johor, had used dodgy material to teach students on the Sikh and Hindu faiths, as part of a compulsory subject at all Malaysian universities.

In a statement released by MGC today, Jagir said he had informed the minister ‘about the factually false and inaccurate statements made by the UTM Lecturer relating to the Sikh Religion especially where he stated Kabir to be founder of the Sikh religion when in actual fact it was Guru Nanak who was the founder of the Sikh Faith and Kabir was only one of the 30 saints whose writings were accepted and included in the Holy Sikh Scripture Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji’.

Similarly, Mohan Shan had informed the minister about the inaccurate teaching slides regarding the Hindu religion.

MGC FULL STATEMENT: See here

The statement added that the minister, in reply, had informed the following:

1. That UTM was in the process of taking action in respect of the controversial slides relating to Sikhism and Hinduism.

2. That UTM Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Wahid Omar had released an unconditional apology and commenced investigations immediately after the matter came to light. Subsequently UTM had taken following steps:

  • A Task Force has been formed to look into the case from holistic perspective in an impartial and unbiased manner.

  • The Task Force has identified the lecturer in question and issued him a letter to clarify the issue and the content of slides. The lecturer has replied and provided clarification and references for the content used and facts presented.
  • The University management has appointed an Independent External Committee comprising of Prof. Zaid Ahmad, Dr. Sarjit Singh and Prof. Rajantheran to assess the credibility of the materials submitted and submit its recommendations.
  • The committee is expected to provide the results of their assessments within a week.

“The Minister further informed that the Ministry is awaiting the outcome of the Independent External Committee and UTM’s decision. That it would be releasing a statement on the matter later in the evening,” the statement added.

“The Minister stated that his Ministry strongly condemned what had happened. The Minister added that role of higher education is to promote unity, understanding and tolerance between the various racial groups in Malaysia. Academic integrity and the integrity of academics is therefore sacred to the Minister,” the statement added.

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Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) President Jagir Singh (left) and Malaysian Hindu Sangam President Mohan Shan in the meeting with Malaysian Minister of Higher Education Idris Jusoh – PHOTO / MGC – PHOTO / MGC

[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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