(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): Forty-six undergraduates of the Masters programme under the tutelage of Professor Dr. Chandra Muzaffar as Director of the Centre for Civilisational Dialogue, University of Malaya have appealed to the University’s Board of Directors to extend Chandra’s tenure until their examination is over.
They want Chandra to remain in the University so that he could mark the Science of Civilisation and Theory of Civilisational Dialogue papers.
The students are right in fearing that another examiner would not understand the approach and delivery to the curriculum and questions set by Chandra for the examination next week and it is clearly unfair at this stage for anyone else other than Chandra to mark the papers.
I call on the Education Minister, Datuk Najib Tun Razak to intervene in the interests of the students and ensure that Chandra’s services at the University of Malaya are extended by at least another three months before the termination of his position as Director of the Centre for Civilisational Dialogue at the University of Malaya.
In this connection, the Education Minister should also call for an explanation from the University of Malaya Management for the two reasons which it had given to justify its decision not to renew Chandra’s contract, namely economic factors affecting the University of Malaya and a government directive requesting the University to optimise available internal human resources, are ludicrous and unsupportable.
Chandra had said that both these reasons were "totally absurd" for the following reason:
"Though the Centre for Civilisational Dialogue is hardly two years old,
it is, from a financial point of view, one of the most viable academic
entities in the University. Its Master of Civilisational Studies
degree, for instance, launched in July 1998 has enrolled 46 students whose
fees would potentially bring in 205,087 ringgit to the University coffers.
No post-graduate degree programme in the entire history of the Arts and
Social Science Faculty of the University of Malaya has attracted such a
large number of students in its year of inception. For the coming
academic session, beginning in May 1999, 90 candidates have applied – another
record breaking figure."
DAP MPs will be raising the issue of the termination of Chandra’s services as Director of the Centre for Civilisational Dialogue, University of Malaya in the forthcoming meeting of Parliament, as it is political persecution in academia at its worst, and smacks of intellectual cowardice in the dishonesty of the reasons given.