Stop making undergraduates study irrelevant subjects, says ex-youth minister

Still images of Syed Saddiq’s video, uploaded Nov. 24, 2021. Photo: Syed Saddiq/ Twitter
Still images of Syed Saddiq’s video, uploaded Nov. 24, 2021. Photo: Syed Saddiq/ Twitter

Muar Member of Parliament Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman yesterday spoke up again about Malaysia’s education system packing too many irrelevant subjects, including Islamic studies, for university students.

The 28-year-old brought up the matter again in a video addressing critics accusing him of trying to rid religious studies from the university curriculum. In the clip making its rounds online today, the former youth and sports minister reiterated his concern about students taking too long to graduate from universities because they were required to complete subjects irrelevant to their course of study. 

“I think people misinterpreted, this is not about religion. This is about subjects that have nothing to do with a university student’s course,” he said in the clip, a month after bringing up the matter in Parliament, calling for a review of mandatory subjects in local universities.

Source: Syed Saddiq/ Twitter

One of the subjects Malaysian students from all religious backgrounds were required to complete was Islam and Asian Civilization, or TITAS. 

“For example, an engineering student in [Universiti Teknologi MARA] would have to study TITAS, Hubungan Etnik (Ethnic Relations), co-curriculum, cooking, and marching for two semesters.”

He also noted how Malaysian students have been studying Islam from primary to tertiary levels, which should be more than enough. 

“These subjects are also taught in primary school, secondary school, and pre-university, so students should have already mastered them,” he added. “University students are adults and should be treated like adults! They should be able to choose subjects based on their interests.”

In the same video, Syed said that he studied economics and public speaking by choice when he was pursuing a law degree at the International Islamic University of Malaysia.

A UiTM lecturer teaches marching. Photo: Unit Kokurikulum UiTM Caw. Perak/ YouTube

Syed’s clip drew mostly support from graduates, with some lamenting how they could have graduated sooner had it not been for the irrelevant subjects. 

“…without all those repetitive subjects we all have learned in school, we could save 1 semester off uni and graduate earlier,” Twitter user Haaneyss said. 

Tkabii chimed in: “Agree 100%. Could have graduated in less than two years but had to take these unrelated subjects.”

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