Lock-down/shut-down of University of Malaya to prevent Anwar from speaking to students is latest example of “first world infrastructure, third world mentality” afflicting our universities which will condemn the nation to a future of mediocrity
Imaging the lock-down of the University of Oxford and the shut-down of all electricity supplies to plunge one of the leading universities in the world into darkness just to deny the British Opposition Leader, Edward Miliband from returning to his alma mater campus to address the undergraduates?
Or imaging the lock-down of Monash University and the shut down of all electricity supplies to prevent the Australian Opposition Leader William Shorten from addressing students in his alma mater university, which had advertised itself online thus: “Monash is ranked in the top one per cent of world universities – 91st in the world – according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013/14”. (Monash this month improved its franking in the THE World University Rankings in 2014/15 to No. 83).
Banish both thoughts, for it would be completely unthinkable that such silly notions would be entertained by any self-respecting university administrator or even political leader in United Kingdom – just as it would be completely unthinkable that world-class American universities like Harvard, Stanford, California Institute of Technology or Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) would be locked down or their electricity supplies completely shut down to prevent Opposition politicians from returning to their alma mater universities to speak to the university students.
Former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s indictment of Malaysia a decade ago as “a nation of first-class infrastructure but third-world mentality” is even more telling and relevant today in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Malaysia in 2014.
I don’t think previous Prime Ministers, including Abdullah and Mahathir would have been so desperate or cheapskate as to approve such an outrageous affront to academic freedom and excellence as to plunge the University of Malaya into darkness by a shutdown of the university’s electricity supplies although Mahathir had done more than any other person in Malaysia to trample on academic freedom.
By plunging University of Malaya into darkness, those in authority have also plunged the country into a democratic and educational darkness as well as a darkness of the soul.
The lock-down/shut-down of University of Malaya to prevent Anwar from speaking to students is latest example of “first world infrastructure, third world mentality” afflicting our universities which will condemn the nation to a future of mediocrity
DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok is right – University of Malaya has become an international laughing stock, not only in banning Anwar Ibrahim from returning to his alma mater university to bar him from accepting the invitation of the Universiti Malaya Undergraduates Association (PMUM) to speak on “40 years from University of Malaya to prison” but for resorting to the outrageous and preposterous ruse of a shut down of power supplies in the university.
Up to now, shut downs of power supplies have been a favourite ploy of lowly officials whether to sabotage Opposition parties and leaders from holding public events in public halls or in the undisturbed and unhampered counting of votes in outlying areas during general elections or by-elections.
Who would have thought that such a disease of “shutdown of power supplies” have now spread to inflect even high-level public officers including university administrators.
The lockdown of the University of Malaya and shutdown of its power supplies yesterday plunging the university into darkness is a stain and stigma to the reputation of the premier university of the country.
I call on the Deputy Prime Minister and the Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to direct a full inquiry to find out who are responsible for such a lockdown and shutdown of the university campus, and to take disciplinary action against all those responsible for the stain and stigma to the university – including officials up to Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice Chancellor levels.