University to review vetting of exam questions after Zakir Naik uproar

Universiti Malaysia Perlis says it is investigating the issue of an exam paper appearing to praise Dr Zakir Naik. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) has responded to the uproar over a question in an examination paper appearing to praise Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik, saying it will review the vetting procedures of exam questions for the particular course.

UniMAP said this was to ensure lecturers were more proactive on the sensitivities of race and religion in formulating exam questions, adding that the issue was being investigated.

“As a university comprising students of various races and cultures, UniMAP takes this issue seriously and any feedback will prioritise the aspects of unity and tolerance between races,” it said in a statement today.

The exam question on Naik had appeared in an Ethnic Relations paper set by the university.

The multiple-choice question read: “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 to answer every question that is 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?”

Students were asked to choose one of four answers:

1) Malaysians do not bother to receive information.

2) Malaysians are sensitive and feel threatened for no reason.

3) Malaysians just follow the crowd without verifying any information.

4) Malaysians are ignorant about their own religions.

The education ministry’s higher education department also responded to the issue, saying universities were given autonomy over their academic programmes.

The department said it will not interfere with the implementation of their academic programmes, as it upheld the concept of “autonomy with accountability”.

“The higher education department wants to stress that every university has an internal and external quality assurance system.

“Every university’s academic committee (including the university senate) is responsible for their respective academic standards,” it said in a statement.