Brainwashed into quitting medical school

By Kang Soon Chen, The Star/Asia News Network,Oct 6, 2012

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia -- A group of Universiti Sains Malaysia medical students has allegedly been brainwashed into leaving their studies by a Buddhist monk.

Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia lay adviser Chong Hung Wang said the student Buddhist association from the campus in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, had voiced its concern that around 30 medical students had shown behavioural changes and disinterest in their studies after returning from a trip to Thailand with the monk in August.

"These students were led to believe that patients should not receive medical treatment for their condition as sickness is the result of their karma.

"They are convinced that they should not become doctors as the act of treating patients will interfere with karma," said Chong.

It is believed that the monk had approached the students in March this year and had gained a following through religious activities conducted off-campus.

The monk also allegedly claimed that he had supernatural power and was able to tell the past and predict the future of the students.

"Compassion is central to Buddhist beliefs. What the monk had propagated about leaving patients to their sickness is wrong.

"We hope to curb the spread of misleading religious beliefs among students by creating better awareness on the true teachings of Buddhism," said Chong.

The students are said to want to leave the medical school and transfer to other programmes such as nutrition and sports science.

They are also having strained relationships with their family members following their decision to quit medical studies.

It was understood that some of the students were in their third and fourth year of studies.

A university official confirmed that three students had applied to transfer to other courses.

Vice-chancellor Prof Dr Datuk Omar Osman said none of the students had received approval to switch courses and the university viewed the matter of students being influenced by misleading religious teachings seriously.

"We do not want the students to simply switch courses because they are very good students and had worked very hard to gain a place to study medicine," said Prof Omar.

He added that the university was reaching out to the students through counselling.