KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Wahid Omar asserted today that its leaked educational slides that portrayed Hindus as “dirty” was an “isolated incident” but pledged a thorough investigation into the incident following uproar online.
Wahid admitted that the slides were not part of the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) endorsed by the Higher Education Ministry and did not reflect the true content of the public university’s Islamic and Asian Civilisation Studies (TITAS).
“We are currently conducting a thorough investigation on this incident, and due action will be taken as necessary. We are truly sorry for what has happened,” he said in a posting on UTM’s official Facebook page this evening.
“With regard to the specific slides shown on social media, the language used in the slides does not reflect the true content of the subject matter in question, and the slides used were not the MOOC slides endorsed by the Ministry of Higher Education 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 added.
To prevent a recurrence of the incident, Wahid said the university will ensure lecturers only use ministry-endorsed slides for the TITAS module.
He also promised to engage experts of Asian Civilisation for input when necessary, as well as remind UTM academics to be more vigilant of the language and context in their presentation slides and modules.
“On behalf of UTM I would like to express our utmost regret and deep remorse for the lack of sensitivity on the part of our lecturers teaching the TITAS subject,” he reiterated.
Slides from the religious module caused uproar after they were posted online, outraging the local Hindu community with claims that they considered the dirt on the body as part of their religious practice to achieve nirvana.
Among others, the slides also claimed that Islam had introduced civility to the lives of the Hindu community.
The TITAS module was made mandatory to all tertiary students regardless of religion in 2013.
Critics of the module had then alleged that it was a front to push an Islamic supremacy agenda in the country.