The school issued a statement today saying that it had charged the senior engineering lecturer, Tan Boon Lee, with breaching the school’s code of conduct after concluding its investigation and was “proceeding to terminate his service.” The decision came weeks after Tan was filmed confronting a couple for being in an interracial relationship and was separately outed in online accusations he inappropriately discussed Islam in class.
“Our staff members are expected to respect cultural, ethnic and religious differences in our society. They must uphold secularity and impartiality at all times,” Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s statement said, adding: “The disciplinary action meted out against the staff in question reflects our commitment to provide a safe, inclusive and respectful environment for our campus community.”
The polytechnic also said that it was strengthening its student feedback channels after the 2017 complaint about Tan discussing religion in class appeared to have gotten lost in the mail.
Ex-student Nurul Fatimah Binti Iskandar Muda Abdul Jalil, who claimed to be the only Muslim in class when Tan was discussing religion, had on June 9 recounted the incident that took place during a programming lecture in July of 2017. Tan had questioned whether Islam was a real religion, among other things he apparently said in class, prompting Nurul Fatimah and another classmate to walk out. She did not hear back from the school after submitting a complaint against Tan, she said.
That complaint may have gotten lost in the school’s system. According to Ngee Ann Polytechnic, who had reached out to her for more information, Nurul Fatimah could not remember whether she had made the complaint through an email or via the student feedback session usually conducted at the end of a semester. The school said it had checked its backend but could not find any trace of her feedback.
“We have conducted a search of our various feedback channels, and worked with our alumna for her to check her NP mailbox archives, but have not been able to locate any records of the feedback,” the school’s statement said. “Nonetheless, we are committed to preventing a similar incident from occurring again, and will ensure that students are made aware of the appropriate channels for them to provide feedback in a safe manner.”
Nurul Fatimah was motivated to go public with the alleged 2017 incident after watching the viral video of her former lecturer confronting the Filipino-Indian Singaporean man and his Thai-Chinese girlfriend, in which he even said that it was “racist that the Indian prey on Chinese [girls].”
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