KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — Slides from a Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) module that portrayed Hindus as “dirty” could have been designed to intentionally misrepresent the religion, said Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan.
Commenting further on the controversy, he expressed his personal disappointment over the messages in the slides that were leaked online, triggering Hindu outrage.
“I can't help but feel only someone who wilfully and purposefully filled with ill intent would produce such a document,” he posted on his personal Facebook page today.
“If that is the case then I urge the university authorities to investigate and take strong stern action against them.”
He stressed, however, that this view was his personal opinion.
Further in his post, Kamalanathan said he will ask the Higher Education Ministry to ensure that all content in the Islamic and Asian Civilisation Studies (TITAS) module be vetted by religious experts before they are presented to students.
Slides from the 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.
Kamalanathan yesterday said he received an undertaking from the vice-chancellor of UTM to ensure that the offending content did not reappear in the module.
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.