Charles: UniMAP-We have become unbelievably racist and xenophobic

Charles: UniMAP-We have become unbelievably racist and xenophobic

PUCHONG: While many are furious over a question in an Ethnic Relations test paper prepared by Universiti Malaysia Perlis, which was seen to belittle critics of Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik, the paper also contained several controversial questions which are missed by the public.

The questions spotted by The Leaders Online found offensive remarks against the Indian community and those opposed to the introduction of Jawi calligraphy in schools.

Klang MP Charles Santiago highlighted in a statement today the two questions that were offensive to the Indian community and to those who were opposed to the introduction of Jawi in schools.

The first question read: ‘’These people are dark-skinned people and they are also found in Asian countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. What nation is this?”

The multiple-choice answers given were: 1) Negroid; 2) Red Indian; 3) Indians; 4) Bushman.

The other question read: “Previously, Jawi writing was a hot topic of discussion in the country. It has opened the eyes of many to express their views and opinions on the matter. Even some politicians are involved in this. Why is this wrong in the eyes of certain parties?”

Students were asked to choose a combination or all of the following answers: 1) It is related to Islam; 2) They try to show the power they have; 3) They love it; 4) The desire to study is deep within (them).

Santiago criticised Education Minister Maszlee Malik for failing to reform the education system, adding that he had also failed to ensure public institutions did not “further fan elements of racism”.

“Something has gone terribly wrong with our society. We have become unbelievably racist and xenophobic.

“And this is not the first time that ridiculous exam questions reflect the current mindset,” he said.

He also slammed the university for feigning ignorance and hiding behind “the pretext of launching an investigation”.

“This has dangerous consequences and therefore UniMAP, the lecturer who set those questions, top officials in the education ministry and especially Maszlee must all be held responsible.”

Under heat over a controversial question in its Ethnic Relations test paper, Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UNIMAP) ordered a probe on the matter citing public interest .

However, UNIMAP’s statement did not address other controversial questions posed in the test, which called Malaysian Indians as ‘dark-skinned people’ and those opposed to the Jawi calligraphy teaching in schools as people who were just showing-off their power.

However, netizens are puzzled by the education ministry’s Higher Education Department’s ignorance on the plight of the affected community, saying universities were given autonomy over their academic programmes.

The department brushed it off by saying that it would not interfere with the implementation of their academic programmes, as it upheld the concept of “autonomy with accountability”.

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