PETALING JAYA: Klang MP Charles Santiago has called for the sacking of Universiti Malaysia Perlis vice-chancellor R Badlishah Ahmad, who had defended controversial questions in an Ethnic Relations examination paper.
Santiago said Badlishah should have apologised instead of defending the questions.
He accused the vice-chancellor of showing his arrogance by saying the questions had taken out of context when they came under public criticism.
“It’s ironic that the questions under ‘Challenges of Ethnic Relations and Current Issues’ actually create an even bigger crisis.
“The university vice-chancellor shouldn’t be holding the position any more because learning institutions must propagate unity and not division,” Santiago told FMT.
He said the panel of academics who approved the questions should also be dismissed and held accountable. The university’s accreditation should also be reviewed or withdrawn if necessary.
Badlishah had said the questions had gone viral because it was taken out of the context of the teaching and learning objectives of the Ethnic Relations course. He said that the questions had been subjected to the proper academic procedures before they were used.
He also said the questions were in line with the topic of the exam paper, “Challenges of Ethnic Relations and Current Issues”, and that the course was meant to create a Malaysian society based on “Malaysia’s own mould”.
One of the questions in the exam paper appeared to praise controversial Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik as an Islamic “icon”. Santiago also said there were two other questions that were offensive to the Indian community and those who were opposed to the introduction of Jawi in schools.
Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) says it has launched an investigation into the recent examination paper for its Ethnic Relations course.
“An official statement will be issued once the (investigation is concluded,” said the university in a statement today.
It said that the university took the matter seriously because its students come from multi-cultural backgrounds.
“UniMAP will also review its vetting process for this course to ensure that lecturers are more sensitive towards ethnic and religious sensitivities.
“For now, the university urge the public to not cause provocations… and give room for the university to conduct a thorough investigation,” said the institution.
UniMAP has come under fire from MIC over question 60 of the bi-lingual paper (in Bahasa Malaysia and English) which touched on controversial preacher Zakir Naik (above).
The question had read: “Zakir Naik is one of the icon of the Islamic world, he is very active in spreading true Islam and following the Quran and Sunnah of Rasulullah SAW. He is able to reason and to answer every question that is asked to [sic] him. However, in Malaysia, he is no longer allowed to deliver his preaching [sic]. In your opinion, as a Malaysian, why does this happen?”
The question provides several answers and more than one combination of answers can be chosen.
The options were: (1) Malaysians do not bother; (2) Sensitive Malaysians feel threaten [sic] for no reason; (3) Malaysians who are normally submissive without any reason; (4) Malaysians are ignorant about their own religion.
Contacted today, MIC vice-president C Sivarraajh said his party does not question Zakir’s status as an “icon” among Muslims, but questioned the suggestive answers.