Hashim’s offensive and ridiculous remark that Gomez’ resignation is no loss to the country raises the question of his suitability as Vice Chancellor of the nation’s premier university to achieve world-class academic excellence and to create “towering Malaysian personalities”
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): The offensive and ridiculous remark by the Vice Chancellor of University of Malaya Prof Dr. Hashim Yaacob that the resignation of Assoc Prof Dr Edmund Terrence Gomez from Universiti Malaya (UM) is not a loss to the country raises the question of his suitability as Vice Chancellor of the nation’s premier university to achieve world-class academic excellence, to create “towering Malaysian personalities” and to turn the nation into a hub to draw the best talents in the world.
Hashim had compounded the offence when he insinuated that Gomez was not sufficiently loyal to Malaysia or fully committed to the University of Malaya and the country in accepting the two-year appointment with the Geneva-based United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) when he said that “any individual should consider the interests of their ‘students, country and the nation’ before deciding to resign”.
Firstly, Gomez did not want to resign but was forced to do so because of the short-sighted and petty stand of the Vice Chancellor in refusing to approve his application for secondment to the United Nations Research Institute, as requested by UNRISD itself.
Secondly, Hashim’s perverted illogic cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. Is Hashim seriously suggesting that should a day come when a Malaysian is offered the post of United Nations Secretary-General, this offer should be turned down in favour of such a Malaysian being able to continue to serve inside the country?
This is the first time that Hashim has publicly commented on the Dr. Terence Gomez debacle, which has become the cause celebre in national and international academia, casting a dark shadow on the 100th anniversary celebrations of the University of Malaya.
Hashim’s comments failed to make out any case to justify the University of Malaya’s stand forcing Dr. Terence Gomez to resign as well as to refuse to allow his wife, Dr. Sharmani Patricia Gabriel, who lectures English in the university, to join him in Geneva with their children on a two-year no-pay leave. Equally disturbing, they also raise serious questions as to whether he has the qualities to propel the University of Malaya from mediocrity to heights of academic excellence.
It is not too late for Hashim to undo the harm that he is doing to Gomez, the University of Malaya, the premiership of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi pledged to the creation of “towering Malaysian personalities” and the country so that the our “premier university” and the nation will not become an international laughing stock in this era of globalization and information and communications technology.
The “Solidarity with Dr. Terence Gomez” dinner to be held at Kelana Seafood Centre, Kelana Jaya, Selangor on Monday, 13th June 2005 at 8.30 p.m. has received good public response.
Among the guest speakers apart from Dr. Gomez are Professor Ibrahim Bajunied, Dr. Toh Kin Woon, Malek Imtiaz, Zainur Zacharia, Bridget Welsh, Lim Guan Eng, Husam Musa and others, with the possibility of a pleasant surprise or two.
* Lim Kit Siang,
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman