KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 — A leader with Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) has suggested a compulsory course on nationalism for high school graduates and pre-university students as a way to deepen their patriotism.
The representative from the Islamist group said the course should be the prerequisite before entering public university or being awarded education loan or scholarship, especially for those he labelled as “ultra kiasu”.
“This is because lately, a lot among the ultra kiasu faction has shown their non-patriotic attitude,” Isma’s information chief Mohd Hazizi Abd Rahman said on the group’s website.
“There are a lot of signs that the ultra-kiasu put the interests of themselves and their race above the country’s interest.”
“Ultra kiasu” is a term popularised by controversial Muslim convert writer Dr Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah to label the DAP federal opposition party, but he has since applied it to other groups including Christians and Malaysia’s ethnic Chinese in general.
“They are reaping the wealth of the country, but they also openly without shame condemning and belittling (sic) the achievements of their own country,” Hazizi said, without singling out any community as being “ultra kiasu”.
His remarks were in support of Tee who on Monday chastised the so-called “ultra-kiasu” for mocking the country’s education system, after Education Minister II Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh reportedly said Malaysia’s institutions of higher education are on par with those in the United States, Germany and Australia.
Idris said there are 135,000 foreigners making up 10 per cent of all students in local universities and colleges, and also cited Universiti Malaya’s (UM) rise in the 2014 QS World University Rankings, from 167 to 151, as further evidence, according to a report by national news agency Bernama.
Tee also downplayed the importance of world university rankings, chiding local learning institutions for trying to play catch-up with a grading that he claimed was “rigged” by the Western world.
Malaysia’s education system has come under much scrutiny in recent years among politicians and employers questioning the standards of its students and graduates, despite the government’s push to turn the country into an education hub.