PETALING JAYA: The Universiti Malaya (UM) lecturer who came under fire for making racist remarks against her students has apologised.
But she would still be suspended from teaching the class in which she had made the remarks, at least until the internal investigation into the case was over, Malaysiakini reported.
Citing a statement by UM vice-chancellor Mohd Amin Jalaludin, the portal said the lecturer’s apology was made both orally and in written form.
He also said that a meeting was held between the lecturer and the students involved, on March 30.
“The lecturer also regretted the incident and stressed that she did not mean to raise any racial issue. She also promised to be more careful in the future,” Amin was quoted as saying.
The apology was accepted by the students, who also expressed the hope that such an incident would not happen again.
Amin, in the statement, said the university did not tolerate any incidents in which their academic or management staff disrespected other races.
On Feb 17, the two students, Lalitha Sudeshna and her friend Rinishah, were said to be in class when the lecturer told them not to sit together.
In a Facebook post demanding an apology from the lecturer, Lalitha said the professor had told them: “India, saya tak suka India duduk bersama-sama. Jangan bawa budaya Unitar kesini. India duduk sama-sama lepas itu akan tiru assignment dan plagiarise. Saya kenal India.”
(I don’t like Indians sitting together. Don’t bring the Unitar culture here. If Indians sit together, they will copy assignments and plagiarise. I know Indians.)
Lalitha said the lecturer had also said: “Saya akan pastikan awak dan kawan awak tak akan dapat kumpulan sama untuk buat assignment. Saya tahu India macam mana.”
(I will make sure you and your friend are not in the same group for assignments. I know what Indians are like.)
The Facebook post quickly went viral, with many criticising the lecturer’s behaviour and expressing support for the students.
Following this, Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan said the university had formed a five-member panel to investigate the allegation.