Najib to be questioned in Parliament about the summary and arbitrary termination of Chandra as Director of the Centre for Civilisational Dialogues, University of Malaya

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): The several thousands of University of Malaya students who yesterday demonstrated in protest against the arbitrary termination of Professor Dr. Chandra Muzaffar’s tenure as director of the Centre for Civilisational Dialogue must be  commended for restoring hope that undergraduates in Malaysia are not completely morally dead or intellectually sterile.

In any other university and country, the virtual dismissal of one of the best academic brains in Malaysia in such an arbitrary and summary manner would have become a cause celebre, but in Malaysia, it did not even merit much mass media attention.

For many years, the intellectual atmosphere in the university campus have not only been sterile but quite castrated, thanks to the Universities and University Colleges Act, and this is why I feel encouraged that all intellectual conscience is not dead when several thousands of undergraduates from all faculties could demonstrate at the University of Malaya yesterday against Chandra’s unfair termination of his tenure at the Centre for Civilisational Dialogues.

The students of the Center for Civilizational Dialogue, University Malaya, yesterday issued a statement expressing their  shock at  the removal of their lecturer and supervisor.

The students said that  the reasons for Chandra’s  removal were not only questionable and vague, the decision  to remove him itself was   highly prejudicial and unjust to his students who will be the unseen victims, for the following reasons:

The Education Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak should heed the call of the students to intervene  to protect their interests and to save them from being victims of corporate or political games.

Unless the University of Malaya Management revoke its decision and continue the tenure of Chandra as Director for the Centre for Civilisational Dialogues, Najib would be queried in the forthcoming meeting of Parliament on Chandra’s summary and arbitrary dismissal which is the latest threat to academic and intellectual  freedom in the institutions of higher learning in Malaysia, an essential prerequisite if Malaysia is to succeed in catapulting into the information and knowledge society in the new millennium.


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong