SINGAPORE – Education Minister Maliki Osman has taken to Facebook to express her shock and disappointment at the alleged Islamophobic statements by a Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) professor.
Dr. Maliki, who is also minister in the office of the prime minister and second foreign minister, responded on Thursday (June 10) to the claims of a former PN student that Tan Boon Lee, a tenured professor at the Polytechnic School of Engineering, had shared derogatory views on Islam in a class in 2017.
Nurul Fatimah Iskandar’s 22-year-old account on Instagram went viral. In it, she claimed that Tan had given a “complete speech on Islam that escalated so badly” during a lesson.
His post came after a nine-and-a-half-minute video posted online Sunday by Facebook user David Parkash showed him arguing with Tan outside the Far East Mall. Parkash was with his girlfriend when the incident occurred. Referring to the interracial couple, Tan said in the viral video that it was “racist for Indians to take advantage of Chinese girls.”
Tan has since been suspended by the polytechnic, which is conducting an internal investigation into his conduct in the incident outside the mall. NP is also studying the alleged comments he made in class in 2017. Tan is also currently under police investigation.
In his post on Facebook, Dr. Maliki said the PN and the Ministry of Education (MOE) have a serious view of the 2017 incident.
“The NP is investigating further and will not hesitate to take disciplinary action, including the dismissal of the teacher, as appropriate. There is no room for any anti-ethnic and anti-religious comments in our educational institutions, let alone an educator,” he added. .
Dr Maliki also stressed that the Singapore Ministry of Education and educational institutions have a “zero tolerance stance” towards any behavior or comment that is intentionally insensitive and derogatory to any race or religion.
“All of our educators are expected to maintain the code of conduct established by their institutions, which clearly states that they must maintain secularity and impartiality at all times,” he noted.
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