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Ku Nan’s trouble with ‘slow learning’

File photo: Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor Facebook

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Alumni can be appreciative of what the government has done for them and the larger community, while being critical of the government, if they feel that it has done something wrong. says Mustafa K Anuar.

It appears that Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, popularly known as Ku Nan, was quick enough to learn that ordinary Malaysians cannot be treated as if they’re all dense.

This lesson was learnt after he got flak from Universiti Teknologi Mara alumni over his remark that the insitution accepts “slow learners”.

If indeed there are “slow learners” at the said institution, Ku Nan should be clever enough to appreciate that the most unintelligent thing to do is to tar all UiTM students (and by extension, the alumni) with the same brush given that many of its graduates have made it in life.

And if truth be told, “slow learners” in the student population are not the preserve of UiTM alone; they exist in other institutions of higher learning as well.

This controversy broke out in the context of Ku Nan reportedly getting incensed by some Malay students and others who were critical of the government.

He lambasted them for not being grateful to the Umno-BN government, which he believes has done a lot for the Malay community.

But to heap the blame on the opposition, as he did eventually, is really to stretch our already frayed imaginations.

In this context, the less he opens his mouth the better. By the way, wasn’t he the one who not too long ago claimed that the homeless in Kuala Lumpur were lazy and too comfortable with their situation?

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If Ku Nan needs reminding, education is meant to liberate the mind so that at the end of the day the receivers of education can free themselves from the chains of ignorance, bigotry and stupidity. In turn, they can become useful and morally upright members of society.

Surely, he doesn’t want these educated people to conveniently transform into apple polishers, as this can cause undue harm to their self-esteem.

In other words, the alumni can be appreciative of what the government had done for them and the larger community, while, at the same time, be critical of the government, especially if they feel that the government has done something wrong.

Indeed, as educated people, the alumni should also be critical of other social institutions as well, being members of a democratic society.

If Ku Nan is troubled by the spectre of “slow learners”, perhaps he should look no further than the people in the current administration.

For, there are people in the administration who seem to be slow in learning the fact that to be critical of the government and to demand accountability, like what the Bersih movement and other civil society groups and concerned Malaysians have done, is not committing a heinous crime.

Similarly, to be inquisitive about what had happened to taxpayers’ money, such as the case of a sovereign fund that is now the monstrous elephant in the room, is not stoking unnecessary fear among Malaysians.

To ask such questions is part and parcel of the democratic process.

It looks like “slow learners” can exist in many parts of society.

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Source: The Malaysian Insight

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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Dr Mustafa K Anuar, a longtime executive committee member and former honorary secretary of Aliran, is, co-editor of our newsletter. He obtained his PhD from City, University of London and is particularly interested in press freedom and freedom of expression issues. These days, he is a a senior journalist with an online media portal
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