The government, through the Higher Education Ministry, is investigating allegations of racism levelled against Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT) on social media, about a month ago.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad said the probe is being conducted despite the university apologising over a controversial billboard it had installed showing its founder, Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing, as the “King of Africa.”
“The Higher Education Ministry has taken immediate action by issuing a show-cause letter to the university, asking for clarification over the matter.
“Although the university has made an apology, the ministry is still continuing its investigation to ensure the good name and image of the country is preserved,” she said in a parliamentary written reply yesterday.
Noraini said this in response to a question from Dr Ong Kian Ming (DAP-Bangi) who asked if the ministry would investigate racism allegations made against Limkokwing University.
Ong also asked Noraini to state the ministry’s plans to protect the reputation of Malaysia’s higher education sector.
“The ministry will not compromise on issues related to racism and will ensure all complaints on this matter are resolved.
“Section 89 (1) of the Private Higher Educational Institutions Act 1996 (Act 555) clearly states that the membership of a private higher educational institution shall be opened to all persons irrespective of sex, race, religion, nationality or class.
“The ministry can take firm action against any quarter, including the management of a private higher education institution, who is found guilty of racism or similar (allegation),” she said.
LUCT, named after its founder Lim Kok Wing, came under fire in June after former students and staff took to social media accusing the university of racism over the billboard.
In June, LUCT had apologised and removed the billboard which was previously displayed at the plaza of its main Cyberjaya campus.
A university spokesperson reportedly said the billboard was not part of a formal project or initiative. They also admitted that the billboard was “done in poor taste”.
The billboard had an illustration of Lim posing with a cheetah, allegedly in Sierra Leone, alongside an image of him standing in the centre of a large crowd of African students.
Outcry over the billboard was partly linked to a new awareness on race-based issues across the region, following the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests in the US after the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police.