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Yoursay: UniMAP VC disgraces himself by defending Zakir question

YOURSAY | 'It is obvious that questions have been designed to ridicule, if not insult sections of the community.'

UniMAP finds nothing wrong with question about Zakir Naik

The Wakandan: Question 60 of Universiti Malaysia Perlis’ (UniMAP) Ethnic Relations examination is about an opinion – that controversial Muslim preacher Zakir Naik is an Islamic icon - being presented as fact.

We can understand if the lecturer who set this question is of the said opinion, which is his personal opinion, but who is he/she to declare it as fact?

UniMAP is teaching its students that Zakir Naik is an Islamic icon, thus unconventionally turning subjective opinion into factual truth. The four multiple-choice answers are also not comprehensive as to why Zakir Naik was not allowed to preach in Malaysia.

This in itself is very wrong and thus question 60 is flawed. It should be vetted, edited, altered, and if there are no reasonable alternatives, it should be deemed inappropriate as an examination question and therefore should not be allowed in the question paper.

Alas, UniMAP felt that there is nothing wrong with the question. You are a laughing stock, especially if this question is made known to your peers from other universities in the world. This is really shameful indeed.

Anonymous_b3cdcd05: The UniMAP examination question smacks of mischief-intended gutter politics. One that is deliberately presumptuous for the simple reason the claim that an alleged criminal and terror instigator on the run from the law in his own domicile as an icon of Islam is debatable or untenable.

The bigger giveaway that the question is framed with ill-intention is the choice of answers that all favour the alleged felon.

The framer does not allow for any dissent or dissenting answer. These do not appear as legitimate educationists but a set of mentally deranged fanatics out to undermine the multiracial harmony in existence.

Anonymous_3b6c1f0c: The fact that the question and answers are obviously racist to anyone looking at it objectively is beyond dispute. The only ones who can’t see it are the promoters of racism and racist agenda.

But what is even more shocking is that the academia of UniMAP sees it fit for such racism being channelled in an exam question and answers and says these are not wrong, speaks volumes to its moral compass.

Our education system has many weaknesses, but the complete lack of morality until today was never one of them. That this is prevalent in higher educational institutions shows a demonstrated ‘low’ in both quality and mentality.

Plainly, when such academia exists in public universities who can’t see that it is wrong to defend a racist fugitive of the law who has created a maelstrom in our multicultural, multilingual and multiethnic society, it then begs the question why do the Malays think vernacular schools are the reason for schisms in our society when it is plainly obvious that Malay educators in Malay society who are driving wedges among the races by indulging racists and racism.

Oriole: Why are universities being led by such simpletons - this is a disservice to the country and especially to youths.

It is no wonder that such idiocy gets printed on examination papers and such "lecturers" operate in remote corners of this country, quietly breeding distorted thinking and hatred.

Taxpayer money is being used to promote extremism in various corners of this country. If the Education Ministry and higher education sectors do not act on this incident, we are opening the doors to even more discriminatory and simplistic nonsense being passed off as "knowledge".

Coward: The ball is back in the Education Ministry’s court. As the regulator, they have the duty to uphold academic standards. The autonomy of university means they have to wait for the university to do an internal investigation first.

Once that is done, as regulator, they have the oversight duty to investigate and to voice their opinion. Not doing that is to neglect their duty.

As far as I can see, the way the question was phrased was not to engage the student power of reasoning but to force the writer's opinion on to the student, using examination mark as the leverage.

This conduct is unbecoming of a university. If the vice-chancellor (VC) cannot see that, and the general public thinks that he is wrong, then the regulator has the duty to investigate.

Anonymous #37634848: Malaysiakini is full of racists, judging from their comments. The VC explained the question is meant to test the maturity of students in our multiracial context. Like the Dong Zong-khat issue, you are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

I am losing faith in the non-Malays. They provoke until the flame roars.

Turvy: I am a proud subscriber and contributor to Malaysiakini for several years. Segregating me and other subscribers as middle-class urban dwellers does not diminish my or our rights as citizens and taxpayers to comment on matters that are of concern to us.

The universities concern us because they provide an important social role. The university is not the plaything of the VC or anyone else in the university.

Nor do their various positions in the university give them licence to use education as a means to advance their individual or collective agendas to sow seeds of discord in a fragile and divided society.

We of that society look upon the universities we fund to create unity in our rich and diverse society through the best traditions of education.

Even if UniMAP claims autonomy over its processes, that autonomy they claim (tenuously in their case) is given only in exchange for delivering education according to the rules, standards and best practices of a university.

They lose that autonomy the moment they stray away from society's reasonable expectations of a university built on its understanding of university traditions.

I will not rehearse the academic shoddiness of the questions, which have been more than adequately pointed out in other postings here. I have been associated with universities in three countries for over four decades, public and private. I cannot imagine questions such as those in issue going through the academic processes of any of those institutions, private or public.

It is obvious that questions have been designed to ridicule, if not insult sections of the community. You don't have to go to school to come to these conclusions or bear such wit as seen in the questions.

It would seem that our universities or some of them, such as the one under discussion, have been taken over by self-appointed race and religious warriors who feel they are anointed in that role and protected by larger movements in society that are also directed at forcing discontent and divisions in our society.

So, what can we, urban-dwelling Malaysiakini readers, do? The vituperation and even the wit of our comments will do nothing. They may stick for a while but will quickly fall off like dry mud slung on glass walls.

In this case involving a university, I think that the agency that is placed to review what has transpired is the Malaysian Qualifications Agency, or MQA. The MQA charter includes “the power to supervise and regulate the quality and standard of higher education providers”.

The MQA should be able to give an independent opinion on the matter and follow that up with any necessary remedial actions. Some of us could write to the agency on this matter. If that does not have any effect, we could start a petition to get the agency moving.

In any case, this matter must not be allowed to be concluded by the VC's response. Higher education in this country is at risk if it continues under the stewardship of people like him and those who set and approved the question.

Yoursay: A fully-loaded 'Zakir Naik is Islamic icon' exam question

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