University of Malaya should withdraw its police report, admit it has made a colossal blunder in the campus lockdown and power black-out and enlist student/alumni/academician support to restore academic freedom to regain international repute for academic excellence
The University of Malaya should withdraw its police report allegedly over “trespass” on its grounds when students and supporters defied a lockdown and blackout of the university campus on Monday night to attend Anwar Ibrahim’s talk on “40 years: From UM to prison” at Dataran Dewan Tunku Canselor.
The University of Malaya administration should take an enlightened attitude to what happened on Monday, admit it had made a colossal blunder in the lockdown and power black-out of University of Malaya and enlist the support of university students, alumni, academicians and the Malaysian public to restore academic freedom to regain the university’s international repute for academic excellence in its early decades.
Of course, the university administration can go on a witch-hunt and vengeful campaign to penalise students and even academicians for what happened on Monday night, but this would be an even greater disservice to its national and international reputation and would do nothing to restore its repute as the country’s premier university.
The letter which a former University of Malaya law graduate, Thulsi Manogaran, wrote in The Malaysian Insider deserve serious consideration by the University of Malaya administrators.
Thulsi said she is not a “big fan” of Anwar but she stood for academic freedom and freedom of speech.
She graduated in 2012 from the Faculty of Law and recalled that academic freedom when she entered campus in 2008 was completely absent.
During her period in university, nobody spoke of politics. Politics was a dirty word. It was labelled sensitive and brushed off.
But what happened on Monday night gave her a lot of hope that Malaysia is not a lost cause after all.
As she said it: “My generation will build a better Malaysia. I am sure.”
Hope was born anew on Monday night, not only for Thulsi but for many Malaysians who have increasingly become more disenchanted and disillusioned with recent national developments in the country – including about academic freedom and the state of the universities in the country with the premier university dropping off from the international radar despite its previous high international repute and recognition for its academic excellence.
Can and will the University of Malaya administrators be allowed to learn “creative” lessons from the scandal of the university lockdown and power black-out, for the premier university in the country to enlist student/alumni/academician support to restore academic freedom to regain international repute for academic excellence?