Malaysian university sacks lecturer responsible for slides mocking Sikhs, Hindus

| Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | 14 July  2016 | Asia Samachar |
The TITAS book used by UTM. It did not use the Ministry of Education approved subject book used at other universities.
The TITAS book used by UTM. It did not use the Ministry of Education approved subject book used at other universities.

The Johor-based Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) lecturer responsible for the controversial slides belittling the Hindu and Sikh faiths have been sacked.

Malaysian Higher Education Minister Idris Jusoh made the announcement in a radio interview in Kuala Lumpur this morning.

“They (UTM) are autonomous … they hired the lecturer and they have the right to fire him. And I was told yesterday that he has been fired,” he said in a morning  Breakfast Grille talk show at the BFM radio station.

The lecturer was teaching the Tamadun Islam Tamadun Asia (Titas), a compulsory subject for all university students in Malaysia, whether public or private.

The matter came to the public eye when the erroneously and ridiculously worded slides, supposedly used to teach the subject at UTM, were shared on the social media last month. Asia Samachar first reported on the issue on 13 June 2016, see here.

The exposure of the slides led to a storm of protest and expression of disgust of the a wide segment of the Malaysian community, with the highest ranking UTM official expressing ‘utmost regret and deep remorse for the lack of sensitivity’ on the part of its lecturers.

The university had then moved to investigate the matter.

When asked if Titas was still relevant, Idris told the listeners that it was the lecturer who “went out of the way”.

“He was not using the co-curriculum provided by the ministry and that has got to be fully understood…We are telling the lecturers that they have to be in line with the Government policies,” he said, according to one media report.

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.

Asia Samachar understands that the lecturer responsible who was on contract with the university.

The slides shared on the social media suggested that the Sikh faith was introduced by Kabir and later spread by Guru Nanak. It added that 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.



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Reference material on Titas slides has no credibility, not authentic: UTM (Asia Samachar, 28 June 2016)

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MGC: Disciplinary action should be taken against UTM Lecturer (Asia Samachar, 16 June 2016)

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

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    THE STAR, Friday, 15 July 2016

    We have given him his 30-day dismissal notice, says V-C


    PETALING JAYA: The Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) lecturer responsible for the controversial lecture slides that disparaged Hindus and Sikhs has been sacked.

    UTM vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Prof Wahid Omar said the lecturer’s 30-day dismissal notice came into effect yesterday.

    “He is still at the university as he still needs to serve the one-month notice,” he said when contacted.

    Asked why the dismissal was not immediate, Dr Wahid said the procedure had to be done according to the contract, which meant giving the staff a month’s notice.

    “His contract will only end in April next year but we have the authority to expedite his dismissal.

    “Besides, we are being more considerate to him by giving him more time to pack,” he added.

    The lecturer’s dismissal was first revealed by Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh in an interview with BFM’s programme The Breakfast Grille yesterday morning.

    He said that the ministry viewed the matter seriously and needed to take “stringent action”.

    The lecture materials, which went viral, portrayed Hindus as dirty and misrepresented the history of Sikhism, triggering an uproar.

    The slides were part of the university’s Tamadun Islam dan Tamadun Asia course (Titas), which is mandatory for tertiary students. Idris said the lecturer was not using the co-curriculum provided by the ministry.

    “We are telling the lecturers that they have to be in line with government policies,” he said.

    Based on a UTM report sighted by The Star, the university is currently reviewing its Titas module, which includes appointing experts in Indian, Sikh and Chinese civilisation studies.

    The university is also closely monitoring the Titas learning methods and reviewing its model according to the syllabus approved by the ministry.

  2. The sacking of the retired reemployed lecturer for having written modules that did not follow the guidelines given by the ministry on sensitive matters is a reminder to all others also.When we practice democracy we mean respecting other religions.Do not at all times belittle or run down any religion because religion is manmade with the help of the unknown.That unknown is Allah, God, Guru Nanak,Jesus, Jehovah, Krsna, Siva, etc.We should be proud that there is a little bit of sympathy left by the rebels who might not have agreed to the move!

  3. Dato Dr Bains, Please note that spelling of my name is GURSHARAN SINGH as this is important as there is another person whose name is spelt as GURCHARAN SINGH and correct spelling will avoid confusion.

    Thank you for your support.

    Views of others would be beneficial as silence may give the impression that Sikhs are not interested or bothered about their own history. This view was given to me by a US citizen when I mentioned that US gives great details of individuals who are victims in any crime or bombing and his response was that countries like India-Pakistan-Others only give numbers but never personal details of the victims or their families/friends. Sadly he was right.

  4. Agreed! With Gurcharan Ji.

    The reliability needs to be confirmed. A letter to that respect need to come from the VC of the University concerned and the minister himself especially to whom our leaders had met and presented a memorendum. And the letter from them need to be circulated. Then only this matter can be taken as solved and the public would feel that our country is fair to all race and religion.

  5. Sacked or Transferred to a higher post with higher remuneration package? This may need to be verified after some time.
    This view is based on the several reported cases in the Aud Gen’s report of suspects of Mismanagement of public funds being suspended but later the only punishment may have been a transfer and without any visible punishment. However this cannot be confirmed as little info is available about the action taken except for announcements by relevant authorities.