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MP SPEAKS | What is the real problem here? The University Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) sets an examination question, calling Indian fugitive Dr Zakir Naik an icon.

Upon a huge uproar, the university management has launched an investigation as a way of distancing itself from the mess.

But while many are furious over the question about ethnic relations, which is seen to belittle critics of Naik, the test paper also contained several other controversial questions offensive to Indians and those opposed to the introduction of Jawi in schools.

Here are the examples:

Question 12 of Page 8:

‘’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 are:


Red Indian



The answer circled was the Indian community. The picture depicted on the question paper also shows Malaysians of Indian ethnicity, but only those with a dark complexion.

Question 58 on Page 28:

“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?”

The multiple-choice answers are:

It is related to Islam

They try to show the power they have

They love it

The nature of the desire to study deeply within

The answer circled were I and II.

So, it’s clear that the university is culpable. It’s therefore irresponsible for it to feign ignorance and hide behind the pretext of launching an investigation.

And interestingly, the Ministry of Education has also washed its hands off the matter by quickly saying it doesn’t interfere with the autonomy of public universities.

This is unacceptable. 

Education Minister, Maszlee Malik (above), has not only failed to revamp the education system but has also not been successful in ensuring public educational institutions don’t 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 examination questions reflect the current mindset.

In March 2017, people were angered by a question posed to seven-year-olds, which promoted racial and religious stereotypes.

Here, the students were asked to match up names with various places of worship.

Two years down, we are still grappling with racist elements in schools and public universities.

This has dangerous consequences and therefore University Malaysia Perlis, the lecturer who set those questions, top officials in the Education Ministry, and especially Maszlee, must all be held responsible.

The buck stops with them.

CHARLES SANTIAGO is a DAP member and the MP for Klang.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

Yoursay: Ministry can’t wash its hands of ‘Zakir icon’ exam question

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