KUALA LUMPUR, April 25 — The University of Malaya (UM) has today expressed regret for hosting a controversial American academic who accused Malaysian leaders of advocating a “second Holocaust” for Jews in a lecture.

In a statement, the university then lambasted Bruce Gilley for claiming that Malaysia is not safe for travellers after Putrajaya ordered that his events be cancelled due to his remarks.

“This is an irresponsible and extreme statement that angers every Malaysian," it said.

UM also said it has acknowledged the directive from the Ministry of Higher Education and promptly responded by cancelling all planned programs and activities featuring Gilley.


“UM expresses regret over the controversial statements that disregard societal sentiments as circulated on social media platforms,” it said.

Gilley, a professor of political science at Portland State University, was invited by the Department of International and Strategic Studies for three events, starting with a seminar on international relations on Monday.

On Tuesday, Gilley delivered a keynote address titled “Will Malaysia Become an Active Middle Power”. Yesterday, in an X post about the speech, he said “a country whose political leaders advocate a second Holocaust against the Jewish people will never be a serious player in world affairs, and will certainly never be a friend or partner of the US”.


Gilley pointed to the remarks of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Agriculture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu.

He has since deleted the post, claiming it was for the safety and well-being of UM staff who invited him.

Gilley is known to be a supporter of Israel, displaying the state's flag on his X account.

He is also a controversial figure among the Western academia for praising Western colonialism and saying it should be “reclaimed”, considered “legitimate”, and even “resurrected”.

In 2017, his article The Case for Colonialism was published in the Third World Quarterly journal and provoked massive controversy resulting in two petitions signed by thousands of academics calling for the editor responsible to be sacked, while 15 of the journal's 34-member editorial board resigned in protest.