What Education Reform, Ramasamy Asks After Exam Question on Zakir Naik

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Responding to Ramasamy’s remarks on lack of educational reforms, Maszlee tells him to read the education ministry’s report card.

DAP’s P Ramasamy has delivered a stinging rebuke of the Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led government in the wake of the uproar over an examination question appearing to praise Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, saying Putrajaya lacks the leadership and dynamism needed to reform public universities.

In a statement, Ramasamy who is Penang deputy chief minister II said the issue was not Zakir himself, but rather “the pathetic state of public universities”.

He said the incident reflected poorly on the state of academic knowledge, lecturers, course content and the nature of public universities.

He said it also highlighted PH’s inability to wake these institutions from their “slumber”.

“Education Minister Maszlee Malik failed to take the initiative to reform public universities. These universities are merely exaggerated versions of secondary schools.


“While they might not have taken up the global challenge of science and technology, they are certainly preoccupied with missionary work and the exaltation of criminals who pretend to be icons.”

The exam question, set by Universiti Malaysia Perlis in an Ethnic Relations paper, had referred to Zakir as “an icon of the Islamic world”.

Ramasamy said although the question was on Zakir, it was set by the academic staff responsible for teaching the course.

Noting that Zakir enjoyed some influence in Perlis, he said it was no surprise that the question had been set in a course on ethnic relations in the state.

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He added that the question was biased in favour of Zakir and made no mention of why the controversial preacher is wanted by the authorities in India, his alleged crimes, Malaysia’s reasons for sheltering him, and why he had been banned from giving public talks.

Ramasamy said if the question or questions on Zakir omitted these, then the students would not be given the information for them to make the right choices.

Meanwhile, Maszlee has responded to Ramasamy’s on a lack of educational reforms by asking him to read his ministry’s report card released three weeks ago.