Deputy minister intervenes over UTM slides on ‘dirty’ Hindus

Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan says that the necessary changes to the module concerned will be corrected expeditiously. ― Bernama pic
Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan says that the necessary changes to the module concerned will be corrected expeditiously. ― Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has pledged to review a module that depicted Hindus in India as unclean and only taught hygiene through Islam, said Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan.

Slides from the module caused uproar after they were posted online, outraging the local Hindu community with its claim that they considered the dirt on the body as part of their religious practice to achieve nirvana.

“I have just spoken to the VC of the university and he has acknowledged the mistake,” Kamalanathan said in a Facebook post. “He also stated that the necessary changes to the module concerned will be corrected expeditiously.

He added that the official had “totally agreed” to his suggestion to ensure that such errors are not repeated.

Among others, the module also claimed that Islam had introduced civility to the lives of the Hindu community in India.

Another slide aimed at teaching the origins of Sikhism claims that founder Guru Nanak had a poor understanding of Islam and had combined it with his surrounding Hindu lifestyle in forming the early foundation of the Sikh faith.

The slides led to condemnation by the Malaysian Indian Progressive Association (Mipas), who called for a retraction and apology from the university.

“The teaching is insulting followers of Hinduism as a dirty community and a community that regard physical filth as part of its religious practice,” said its secretary-general S.Barathidasan in a statement.

“Mipas condemns completely, the actions of UTM for publishing and allowing such a module that contains negative elements in its educational course that carries elements of insult and harassment as well as demean the purity of the Hindu faith.”

Barathidasan added that a police report was lodged by the chairman of the Hindu Dharma Association of Malaysia in Sungai Petani against UTM, and expects more police reports to be lodged.

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