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Malaysians Are Divided Over This 'Controversial' Question From A Moral Test Paper

A photo of the Moral test paper has been circulating on social media.

Cover image via Sarah Lian

A question from a Moral test paper has become a topic of discussion since yesterday, 28 March

Image via Sarah Lian

A photo of a Moral test paper for Standard 1 students that is allegedly from a national school in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, shows a question which instructed students to match the names provided to the different houses of worship that were depicted in the images.

Since then, the image has stirred debates on racial stereotyping, as the question seemed to ask students to infer a person's religious identity based solely on their names.

The particular question was brought to public attention after the snapshot was first uploaded by famous Malaysian celebrity, Sarah Lian

Image via Sarah Lian

She took to her social media accounts to share her thoughts after her friend's 7-year-old daughter apparently "scored badly" in the test.

The student had written 'Devi' for the church image, 'Steve' for the Hindu temple image, 'Kamal' for the Chinese temple image, and 'Hock Lee' for the mosque image. All of the student's answers were marked wrong.

"And you wonder who makes kids racist and stereotypical??? Well, here's your answer! A horrible approach to stereotyping people into names races and religions. I'm so furious at this form of racism. How archaic and racist! This is so sad!" Lian wrote in her post.

Netizens have expressed their shock and disappointment that such a question was asked in a Moral test paper

They have criticised the school for allowing such a stereotypical question in a test, as the question suggests that the student must identify what faith people are connected to based on the names provided.

They said that it is the failure of the Malaysian education system that has led to children being taught to profile a person's religion based on his or her name.

Image via Facebook
Image via Facebook
Image via Facebook

On the other hand, quite a number of people think that there is nothing wrong with the question

They argued that such a question is being asked to introduce different cultures and beliefs in Malaysia, and is not stereotypical in nature.

They added that this is just an attempt to educate the future generation about diversity.

Image via Facebook
Image via Facebook
Image via Facebook

The question has also led to discussions on the larger issue at hand where names are being used as the determinant of someone's religion in Malaysia

The media have highlighted multiple cases in East Malaysia in recent years, where native non-Muslims have been wrongly registered as Muslims by the National Registration Department (JPN) for having 'bin' or 'binti' in their names.

In Malaysia, the words 'bin' and 'binti' (which mean "son of" or "daughter of") are commonly used for children of Malay ethnicity, who are also constitutionally Muslim.

Last November, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself acknowledged this issue and vowed to find a solution to the matter.

"We must find ways to solve this problem."

"Take Idris Jala for example. People think he is a Muslim. His name is Idris Jala, after all. But he is a Christian, a Kelabit. You would not have known," he reportedly said, referring to Sarawakian leader Datuk Seri Idris Jala.

Do you think such a question has a place in the Malaysian education system? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Malaysians have been more critical about the education system in the past year: