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Only in M’sian varsities you come across these lecturers
Published on: Sunday, May 28, 2017

By Dr Johan Ariffin
AS A Malaysian, it irks me when I read that UUM’s lecturer Kamarul Zaman Yusoff says stories and quotations from the Bible in Hannah Yeoh’s book could influence non-christians to convert to the religion.

In his police report which was published in PAS official organ Harakahdaily, Kamarul felt the stories can influence readers, including himself to feel admiration for the greatness of Hannah Yeoh’s God.

My first reaction is here we go again. Why are some Malaysians so weak that we become frightened of our own shadow as if everywhere we turn to we become a blub of jelly that is easily mouldable into some kind of defenceless soul. If I was UUM, I would be very worried about the lecturer’s parochial thinking and state of mind.

Only in Malaysia a lecturer can be influenced by what he reads to the point that he can be converted to another religion without much convincing.

Malaysian lecturers like Kamarul should travel the world to enrich their worldview instead of sitting at home absorbing the toxicity of our current environment and being made use of by PAS. In my travels to Kinsale, Ireland, for example, I met Malays who landed in Ireland 30 years ago with very little money in their pocket and who are now operating successful Malay Kitchens selling Malay Street food from rendang burger to chicken kurma.

Our conversations devoid of religion and politics was about their life stories and how they struggled and made it in Ireland.

Our government has never recognized their success or ever given them a cent. They made it on their own and were proud that Malays can achieve success like other races without much pampering and coddling.

They have kept faith in their religion and have not forgotten their Malay roots all these years of living in a Christian nation. Like many of us who went to Christians mission schools or living in a Christian environment, we have not changed our faith because of one book we read.

I just wonder how our local universities are going to improve their global rankings with these kinds of lecturers. QS World University Ranking 2016/2017 shows UUM at No. 701 spot; no change since 2015.

In contrast to Kamarul’s cheap publicity, a news report about Ahmad Saidin Mohd Idris who had to commute 135 kilometre daily over dirt roads on a motorbike to and from the government school where he teaches Orang Asli children has touched the hearts of many good Samaritans.

A crowdfunding from around the country and overseas raised RM 11,956 to buy him a new motorbike.

As a humble person with a heart of gold his only reaction was that the schools need the money more than he does and that he was happy with his old trusted motorbike.

Ahmad has restored the faith in humanity and I hope more people will follow his example and contribute for the good of the nation.

It seems like some Malaysians have developed a siege mentality where we are in constant need of protection from imaginary enemies out to get us at every corner. It has become so bad that people have commented that we have become the land of absurdity, to be ridiculed and laughed at by the rest of the world.

A case in point with the Auntie Anne “pretzel dog” where the word “dog” has been taken literally by Jakim and some poor unsuspecting Malaysians. Perhaps this is why Zakir Naik, an international Muslim fugitive banned in several countries have flourished and have taken advantage of our own weakness. Imagine what damage Naik can do with his radical and toxic preaching against other religions on the weak minds of people like Kamarul who cannot clearly distinguish right from wrong. Now that Naik has been given Saudi Arabian citizenship, many moderate Muslims will be glad to see the last of him.

Controversial university lecturers are nothing new to Malaysia. What is most worrying is that this kind of mumbo jumbo thinking is coming out of our local universities funded by the government. Impressionable students who are on the receiving end of bigotry can be easily influenced by the parochial thinking of the lecturers.

We have Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah who rants all the time against imaginary enemies who are going all out to destroy Islam. Because of his toxic language, Ridhuan is banned from entering Sarawak and Singapore.

Instead of producing well rounded students ready to face the challenges of the world, local universities are likely to produce students who are unable to think objectively and challenge the theories and assumptions of different thoughts. Instead, they will be producing Zombie like graduates who are unemployable.

I just wonder why people like Kamarul love to portray themselves as weak and meek and susceptible to influence by just reading someone else’s life stories.

Our faith in Islam or any other religion for that matter should be strong and unwavering, and most of all should stand the test of time. If it is that weak, our religious upbringing, agama lessons, and Jakim’s big RM1 billion budget has all failed us and gone to waste.

Instead of producing people of steadfast character and beliefs, we are producing people who can’t think for themselves and who needs constant babysitting to protect them from the real world of temptations.

If Kamarul intends to play to public sympathy, he has failed miserably as the social media chatter has ridiculed him and questioned his true intentions.

Worst still, Kamarul is being used by PAS to create more hate against other people and religion.

If Umno wants to team up with PAS in the next GE, they should really think twice.

The only person who will benefit from this tirade will be Hannah Yeoh. Her book “Becoming Hannah: A Personal Journey” will now be the best seller thanks to Kamarul.

We need to take stock of our own weakness and build strength and character in our university lecturers and students. We need to reassess our values, and leverage on the past strength of Malaysia where racial and religious harmony once reside based on rukunnegara.

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