Raja Nazrin Shah as Pro Chancellor of University of Malaya should give personal attention to the Terence Gomez case to ensure that MU could restore its position as a world-class university where the “best and the brightest” can find academic home
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament, Saturday): Raja Nazrin Shah, Pro Chancellor of University of Malaya, has distinguished himself as a modern, enlightened and visionary member of the royalty who is concerned about excellence, scholarship and distinction in Malaysian academia.
Regarded as a “scholar prince”, Raja Nazrin holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics from Britain’s Oxford University and a PhD in political economy and government from Harvard University.
For this reason, I call on him to give personal attention to the case of Dr. Terence Gomez to ensure that the University of Malaya could restore its position as a world-class university where the “best and the brightest” can find academic home.
If the University of Malaya Vice Chancellor Dr. Hashim Yaacob cannot give a satisfactory explanation for his outrageous refusal to grant the application by the Geneva-based United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) for a two-year secondment for Dr. Terence Gomez to pioneer global research on racial conflict, this will cast a dark shadow on the commitment of the university to the Prime Minister’s lofty goal of “cemerlang, gemilang, terbilang” and further undermine the international credibility and repute of the University of Malaya.
I have received a 23-page file about strange goings-on in the University of Malaya and I will study them before deciding on the next course of action.
I find media reports that the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Board of Directors and its Chairman, Tan Sri Dr. Zainul Ariff Hussein had never asked for the resignation of the university’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Datuk Dr. Muhamad Zohadie Bardale most extraordinary, though it is a relief.
“Extraordinary” because the pressure by the UPM Board of Directors for Dr. Muhamad Zohadie’s resignation had been confirmed by none other than the Higher Education Minister, Datuk Dr. Shafie Salleh and a “relief” because the sudden turn of events showed that there is “light at the end of the tunnel” to resolve the UPM controversy in a manner which is in the best interests of the UPM students and the academic community.
There should be room for discussion on the earlier directive by the Higher Education Ministry to close down the Aerospace Engineering programme in UPM and transfer it to Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) as the Higher Education Ministry should issue guidelines and not dictats to universities about their development. If the Higher Education University wants the UPM to be fully agro-based, are other engineering departments, whether civil, electrical and electronic engineering, or other faculties, like medical and education are to be disbanded because they are not directly related to agriculture?
* 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