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Shafie should direct the University of Malaya Vice Chancellor to halt campus witch-hunt because of his Terence Gomez debacle and focus instead on restoring the international reputation of the country’s premier university for academic excellence and freedom
Media Statement (3)
(Parliament, Tuesday): The Minister for Higher Education, Datuk Dr. Shafie Salleh should direct the University of Malaya Vice Chancellor Prof Dr. Hashim Yaacob to halt the campus witch-hunt because of his Terence Gomez debacle and focus instead on restoring the international reputation of the country’s premier university for academic excellence and freedom.
The reinstatement of Dr. Terence Gomez as Assoc Professor of University of Malaya following the personal intervention of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi last month in approving Gomez’ secondment to take up the prestigious United Nations research appointment in Geneva was a major “loss of face” for the Vice Chancellor, but Hashim had only himself to blame for such a public spectacle of his disgrace.
Hashim will only be compounding his mishandling of the Terence Gomez secondment issue if he now seeks to vent his spleen at the embarrassment he suffered as a result of the Prime Minister’s intervention by gunning for easier targets, like the President of the University of Malaya Academic Staff Union (PKAUM), Professor Rosli Mahat, who had been issued a “show cause” letter by the Vice Chancellor for his support of Dr. Terence Gomez during the Gomez controversy.
Hashim’s latest recalcitrance in looking for scapegoats for his embarrassment in the Terence Gomez debacle only refocus public attention on the qualities needed of a good Vice Chancellor. At the parliamentary roundtable on “Higher Education in Crisis” on May 27, one major proposal to arrest and reverse the decline and drop of academic excellence in Malaysian higher education is to end the appointment of people who are well connected politically to be Vice Chancellors and Deputy Vice Chancellors and to ensure that at minimum the appointees should be internationally-respected scholars, with the whole process of selection made transparent.
If Hashim goes on a witch-hunt in the University of Malaya to punish academics who had rightly spoken up in support of Dr. Terence Gomez, Shafie will have to answer for Hashim’s most unacademic and unscholarly conduct when Parliament reconvenes for the budget meeting in September.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman