KUALA LUMPUR: Ipoh Barat MP M. Kula Segaran described it as a “disgrace” that even a university could be so “insensitive” and plan its convocation to end on the eve of Deepavali.
“It was totally absurd and totally unacceptable for USM to propose its convocation end on Deepavali eve,” he added in a statement.
He demanded that USM tender a public apology to Hindus although new dates have been set.
“It must not offer any excuse for their insensitive proposal.”
Kula Segaran doesn’t see any reason why the university should be thanked for setting new convocation dates.
“It committed a mistake which ought not to have happened.”
He lamented that Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan has expressed his gratitude to USM Vice Chancellor Professor Omar Osman “for the university’s kind consideration and aid in making the rescheduling possible”.
Although the USM ‘s convocation would not end now on Deepavali eve, he noted, Hindus were still angry. “They cannot understand how the university could have been so insensitive.”
“It was absurd to have proposed earlier that the 2016 convocation ceremony ends on Deepavali eve.”
He stressed that there was no excuse for the university not to know that Deeapavali eve was when Hindus gather for family reunions and offer prayers for ancestors. “It’s a time-honoured tradition.”
He reiterated it was therefore “simply absurd and totally unacceptable” to propose the convocation end on Deepavali eve.
USM Registrar Abdul Aziz Tajuddin claimed the convocation dates, October 24 to 28, as displayed on the university’s website, had not been finalised. “The proposed dates were the result of internal discussion,” the MP quoted the Registrar as saying in media reports.
The Registrar doesn’t know “how outsiders got wind of it”. “The matter hasn’t been finalised,” said Abdul Aziz. “It still requires the Chancellor’s nod.”
The point was not whether it was a proposed or finalised date, argued Kula Segaran. “The issue was how could the university be so insensitive to propose such dates.”
Two years ago, the Education Ministry was slammed for a similar incident.
It planned to hold a compulsory briefing for teachers on Deepavali eve. They were invigilating in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM) examinations.