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UTM conducting probe on erroneous slides on Hinduism, Sikhism
Published:  Jun 14, 2016 6:00 PM
Updated: 10:07 AM

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) is currently conducting an investigation into the matter of erroneous claims on Hinduism and Sikhism being taught to their students, said the university's vice-chancellor.

"We are currently conducting a thorough investigation on this incident, and due action will be taken... We are truly sorry for what has happened," UTM vice-chancellor Wahid Omar said in a posting on the university's Facebook account.

UTM yesterday said it would fix its Tamadun Islam and Tamadun Asia (Titas) modules which state that Islam taught Hindus manners and cleanliness, as some of them believed dirt on the body is part of a ritual to attain nirvana.

Another UTM Titas slide circulated online also said the founder of Sikhism borrowed elements from Islam, but had poor understanding of the religion.

Wahid said that the language used in the slides did not reflect the true content of the subject matter in question and that the slides were not the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) slides endorsed by the Higher Education Ministry for the Titas subject.

"What was written on the slides does not reflect the true content and has been presented out of the full context," he said.

As a "direct result" of this incident and to prevent such recurrence, he said that UTM would ensure that their lecturers only use slides for Titas which have been endorsed by the Higher Education Ministry, as well as engage experts on Asian civilisation to provide input when needed.

"At the same time, we will continuously remind our academics to be more vigilant in future and be more aware of the language and presentation of content on their teaching slides and modules so as not to touch on sensitivities of others," he said.

He added that this was an isolated incident and did not reflect the true values of UTM.

Wahid said the university promoted understanding in celebrating diversity and it has testimony of the vibrant and dynamic activities on its campus.

UTM has its code of ethics as a guide to all academic staff, which stresses on the need to uphold true values and nobility of character in order to instil the right mindset and principles among staff and students.

The code also encourages respect for one another and inculcate understanding among diverse cultures, creeds and religions, he said.

"The university subscribes to these important values and every member of the university community should adhere to and strive to achieve this," he said.

UTM has been receiving brickbats from the Hindu and Sikh community since the slides bearing UTM's logo went viral on social media.

Several police reports have also been lodged on this matter, with MIC treasurer-general S Vell Paari calling for this matter to be investigated under the Sedition Act.