The Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad was the former vice chancellor of Universiti Sains Malaysia, and I call on him to abandon clumsy and self-defeating "mind-control" attempts by the Education Ministry holding Malaysian academician "collaborators" responsible for the "political correctness" of "foreign" research students in not criticising the government by raising "sensitive issues" in their researches.
This rule is most antideluvian and a great mockery for a society which wants to take the quantum leap to an information society and transform itself into a K-(knowledge-based) economy.
In fact, this rule applies to all researches, foreigners or Malaysians from foreign institutions of learning, who want to conduct research in Malaysia.
Every such researcher has to get prior approval from the Socio-Economic Research Unit (SERU) and the Economic Planning Unit (EPU)for an research pass to be issued.
One of the conditions for the approval for a foreign researcher (including Malaysians from foreign universities conducting research in Malaysia) must have a local Malaysian academician as research "collaborator" for "mutual benefit" - actually to ensure their "good conduct".
The sting is the responsibility imposed by the Education Ministry through the various local university authorities holding local Malaysian academicians responsible for the "political correctness" of their "foreign collaborators" in ensuring that they do not raise "sensitive issues" detrimental to the national image and interests.
The term "sensitive issues" has been defined in the broadest possible fashion as to make any serious research on Malaysia meaningless.
For instance, in the context of national security, "sensitive issues" means any issue that can cause prejudice, hatred, enmity or contempt between or towards any ethnic or religious group and can affect public safety, national security and/or the integrity of the Government.
Instances of such "sensitive issues" include:
Musa should retract these unreasonable and ridiculous conditions attached to researches conducted by foreigners or Malaysians from foreign universities, and in particular, the even more unreasonable and ludicrous precondition requiring foreigner researchers to have local academician counterparts who will be held responsible for their "political correctness".
If Musa is not prepared drop altogether the ridiculous conditions imposed on researches interested in conducting research in Malaysia, which makes the Malaysian academic tradition an international laughing stock, then Musa should send out a clear message to the world that Malaysia is so thin-skinned that it does not welcome any foreign researcher in Malaysia!