COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
30 June 2014
This is a good day for Malaysia.
Yes, most of us will be sorry that Professor Datuk Dr Mohamad Redzuan Othman is being forced out of his job at Universiti Malaya.
But this is also a good day for Malaysia. Because the principled stand taken by this gentleman is another sign that there are individuals in Malaysia who will not be cowered or silenced or threatened by insecure Barisan Nasional (BN) politicians aided by supine and morally-bankrupt government officials.
Only a few days ago, Tan Sri Shamsul Abbas, the chief executive officer of Petronas, spoke with unusual candour about the pressure being exerted on the national oil company by rent-seekers. He championed meritocracy, knowing full well the attacks he would invite from those who believe it is their birthright to plunder Malaysia’s resources.
He knows that powerful forces want him out of Petronas. The easier option would have been to say that the national oil company’s resources do not belong to him and look the other way as the plundering continued.
Similarly, it would have been so easy for Redzuan to sacrifice his beliefs for personal advancement and pecuniary interests.
All he had to do was ensure that the surveys conducted by Universiti Malaya’s Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMcedel) were friendly to Putrajaya and showed that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was as popular in Malaysia as North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is in Pyongyang.
All he had to do was give his word and bow to demands not to invite opposition politicians to address students at functions at UM.
But Redzuan and those of the same moral fibre usually don’t take short cuts and often cannot be bought off by the powerful and rich. They answer only to God and know that it is infinitely more rewarding doing the right thing now and undergoing hardship and persecution but having a clear conscience before the Almighty than in amassing riches, gaining a tenure and then facing damnation later.
It says much about Redzuan that he was prepared to lose his livelihood on a matter of principle.
Just as it says much about the thin-skinned and shameless politicians who occupy high office in Putrajaya and the Education Ministry officials who do their bidding even when they know that the directives they are enforcing are wrong and unjust.
But this is the Malaysia we live in today – where principled individuals are being called upon daily to stand up to the tyranny of the powerful.
There is hope as long as there are individuals such as Redzuan. And many more nameless and faceless Malaysians who stand up for their principles and beliefs. When hope is lost and despair sets in, remember the names Shamsul and Redzuan and what they do to make Malaysia a better place for all. – June 30, 2014.