Malaysians opposed to the preaching of Zakir Naik are ignorant and gullible, Universiti Malaysia Perlis seems to have suggested.

The university is being lambasted after a screenshot of one of its multiple choice-answer question on its examination paper on Ethnic Relations, was shared on social media.

"Zakir Naik is one of the icons of the Islamic world. He is very active in spreading true Islam and following the Quran and Sunnah of Rasulullah SAW. He is able to reason and answer any question asked to him. However, in Malaysia, he is no longer allowed to deliver his preaching. In your opinion, as a Malaysian, why does this happen?

The answers provided were: i) Malaysians do not bother, (ii) Sometimes Malaysians feel threaten(ed) for no reason, (iii) Malaysians who are naturally submissive without any reason, and (iv) Malaysians are ignorant about their own religion.

The matter was first highlighted by MIC vice-president Sivarraajh Chandran on his Facebook page yesterday.

Failure to reform

Following the fiasco, DAP's P Ramasamy today fired a shot at the Pakatan Harapan government for failing to reform public universities.

“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 Penang deputy chief minister II said in a statement, reported Free Malaysia Today.

Penang mufti Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor is in agreement that the controversial Mumbai-born preacher should not have been mentioned in the syllabus of a university.

"An institution of higher education's role is to unite the people instead of encouraging divisiness and enmity between them," he said in a statement.

Wan Salim, who nonetheless praised Naik as an "extraordinary" Muslim preacher, further urged universities to ensure there are no negative elements in their syllabus.

Naik, who holds a permanent resident status in Malaysia, is wanted in India on money-laundering charges in India. He has denied the charges.

Malaysia has refused to deport Naik, saying the latter would not get fair treatment.

Last August, the Malaysian police barred him from public speaking following a flurry of police reports over his speech in Kelantan that said Malaysian Hindus were more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than they are to Malaysian premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Naik also told critics who asked him to be deported to India, to first ask the Chinese, who are also considered "guests" here, to leave first.

Mufti blames vernacular schools

Amid this controversy, Perlis Mufti Mohd Asri Zainal Abidin, in a Facebook post, said that as long as vernacular education is allowed to remain, disagreement among the country's various communities will exist.

It is worth noting that Mohd Asri is a staunch supporter of Naik.

"As long as vernacular schools that do not use the national language are not eliminated from the country, then the conflict and unrest between races will remain," he wrote.

Vernacular education is guaranteed under the Federal Constitution, but it has been increasingly attacked following Harapan's win in the 14th general election.

There is even an ongoing lawsuit to declare vernacular schools unconstitutional.

Source: Free Malaysia Today,
Photo source: The Star, social media