Tan Sri Dr. Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar should be sacked as UiTM Vice Chancellor of University Technology MARA (UiTM) for setting the worst possible example as a responsible Malaysian citizen for allowing the university to host a second anti-Christianisation seminar for the second consecutive year.
The seminar against Christianisation held in the Lendu, Malacca campus of UiTM on Saturday, was the second to be held by the university, after a similar seminar held last year at the UiTM Shah Alam campus, titled “The word ‘Allah’ and Christology in the Malay Archipelago”.
It is most shocking that Sahol, who had been UiTM Vice Chancellor for 15 years since 2000, and UiTM administrators responsible for the two anti-Christianisation seminars, do not seem to know or understand Rukunegara, whose core values and principles teach the diverse races and religions in Malaysia to respect each other so that we can settle our differences through dialogue and not confrontation.
The last thing the drafters of Runkunegara would want or expect our University Vice Chancellors and administrators to do would be to turn universities into breeding grounds for inter-religious misunderstanding, enmity and hatred.
If our undergraduates are taught to hate or fear other religions and adherents of other faiths, it is not only a repudiation of the Rukunegara, it is a most anti-national act as we are laying the seeds for inter-religious distrust, enmity and hatred which can only result in national discord and disunity.
An announcement had just been made on Monday that Sahol would retire as UiTM Vice Chancellor on Dec. 31 and Datuk Dr. Hassan Said, the Vice Chancellor and President of Taylor’s University and former director general of Higher Education (2005-2008) has been appointed as the new vice chancellor of UiTM effective from Feb. 1.
In the circumstances, it may not be much point to demand a proper explanation from Sahol and for commensurate disciplinary action to be taken against him.
However, UiTM must give an assurance that it will not continue to flout Rukunegara and will not organize a third anti-Christianisation seminar or any conference which is anti any other religion at its campus.
Furthermore, the Higher Education Minister Datuk Idris Jusoh should convene an urgent meeting with all universities to ensure they do not become breeding grounds to provoke inter-religious misunderstanding, enmity and hatred.
Idris should impress on all Vice Chancellors the importance of local universities setting an example in our nation of upholding the core values and principles of Rukunegara, and specifically, to ensure that universities do not become breeding grounds for inter-religious disharmony, enmity or hatred but centres for the creation of a Malaysian national identity transcending racial, religious, linguistic and cultural diversities in our country.
Seminars like the anti-Christianisation or any other religions should be a taboo in our universities, which should be taking pro-active measures to promote inter-religious understanding, goodwill and harmony.
Having organized two anti-Christianity seminars, UiTM should make amends and lead off by organizing the first inter-religious seminar in our university campus to promote inter-religious peace, goodwill, understanding and harmony ahead of other universities in the country.