IPOH, Oct 14 — Four public universities and their vice-chancellors have a duty to explain to Malaysians their reasons for taking an active role in co-organising the recently held Kongres Maruah Melayu (Malay Dignity Congress), G25 said today.
The group said the speeches at the congress left most Malaysians shocked at the level to which race and religion have been exploited to make demands in support of dignity for the Malays and Islam.
“The public is entitled to hear their explanation as the universities are funded by government allocations paid from taxpayers’ money,” the group said in a statement.
The four universities involved in the congress were Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).
While acknowledging and respecting the right of autonomy in deciding what forums the universities wish to participate in, the group said that the speeches and resolutions from the congress are totally contrary to the public aspirations of Malaysia Baharu as outlined in the government’s newly announced Shared Prosperity Vision.
“The vice-chancellors have the right to disagree with the government’s concept of a shared prosperity, its reform agenda or with the notion of sharing political and administrative power with non-Malay political leaders or maintaining the country’s character as a secular constitutional democracy.
“However, as heads of academic institutions, they should be non-political in making their speeches and explain their ideas in a constructive manner,” he added.
The group also said the four vice-chancellors and other academics clearly knew what their presence at the gathering meant and their prominence as opening speakers as well as their publicly stated recommendations of racist and undemocratic policy reforms revealed their true agenda.
“This is precisely what universities and academia should avoid. We are criticising their support of the rabble-rousing that the event was meant to do.
“The entire event was not perceived as a fact-finding forum, nor was it a gathering of students and scholars meant to debate national issues of concern to all races and religions of Malaysia. It was deliberately done like a political rally. This is objectionable,” the group stressed.
G25 also said that any public gatherings, be it forums or congresses, should not blatantly project any political agenda, but instead increase knowledge and seek to educate.
“If the vice chancellors are well informed, they will know that all those regimes that used tribal and sectarian hatred to promote their supremacist politics, have ended up in the dustbin of history, condemned by their own people for bringing chaos, anarchy and poverty to their countries.
“Millions of lives were lost unnecessarily because of the greed for power by their leaders. We in Malaysia must not allow the universities to get away with supporting those who use destructive Nazi tactics of dividing the people to facilitate the desperate politicians to play on the emotions of the ordinary people in their greed for power.
“Such speeches when made by vice-chancellors cross the line of academia and render their position as heads of public institutions no longer tenable,” the statement further read.