Is Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin playing the classic bait of threatening another May 13 to distract attention from his dismal failure as Education Minister in the latest violation of academic freedom in University of Malaya which jeopardizes the plan to restore its ranking as world’s Top 100 University?
Muhyiddin must answer this question for this is the first time in four decades that a Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister had threatened another May 13 riots – but will any Minister dare to ask Muhyiddin this question point-blank at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday?
Not the MCA President, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who had virtually defended Muhyiddin’s May 13 threat, describing it as a “reminder” for Malaysians not to take unity for granted.
Liow spoke about the efforts by our forefathers to build and unite the nation, but what he has forgotten is that our forefathers, whether Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein, Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Tun Tan Siew Sin or Tun V.T. Sambathan would never have endorsed, condoned or sanitised a racial riot threat like the one issued by Muhyiddin in Pagoh on Friday night and would have demanded a retraction and apology if not resignation!
If all the Cabinet Ministers are like-minded as the MCA President, who could sanitize a “threat” of a racial riot as a “reminder”, then for the first time in the 57-year history of Malaysia, the nation has a Cabinet which is not fit or qualified to lead Malaysia’s multi-racial and multi-religious nation.
There can be no question or doubt that a Deputy Prime Minister who could issue a threat of another May 13 is not fit to be Deputy Primer Minister in Malaysia and a Cabinet which could condone, endorse or sanitise the May 13 threat as a “reminder” is not fit to be the Cabinet Malaysia.
It will do good for all the Cabinet Ministers, including the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Muhyiddin, to re-read and digest the Proclamation of Independence by Bapa Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman at Merdeka Stadium on August 31, 1957, and the Proclamation of Malaysia on Sept. 16, 1963.
The Proclamation of Indepencence in 1957 ended with the following high commitment:
“But while we think of the past, we look forward in faith and hope to the future; from henceforth we are masters of our destiny, and the welfare of this beloved land is our own responsibility: Let no one think we have reached the end of the road: Independence is indeed a milestone, but it is only the threshold to high endeavour- the creation of a new and sovereign State.
“At this solemn moment therefore I call upon you all to dedicate yourselves to the service of the new Malaya: to work and strive with hand and brain to create a new nation, inspired by the ideals of justice and liberty – a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world.
“High confidence has been reposed in us; let us unitedly face the challenge of the years. And so with remembrance for the past, and with confidence in the future, under the providence of God, we shall succeed.”
The Proclamation of Malaysia pledged that Malaysia shall “forever be an independent and sovereign democratic State founded upon liberty and justice, ever seeking to defend and uphold peace and harmony among its people and to perpetuate peace among nations”.
Muhyiddin has shown no commitment to the ideals of justice and liberty for the nation to be “a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world” but is doing his worst for Malaysia to be part of “a disturbed and distracted world”.
Muhyiddin’s May 13 threat is giving legitimacy of a small group extremists who had in the past year since the 13th General Election been responsible for the worst racial and religious polarization in the country with their incessant incitement of racial and religious hatred, conflict and tension with periodic threats of another May 13.
Muhyiddin was not only dishonest and but downright irresponsible when he tried to justify his May 13 threat on the ground that the Malays and Islam were under siege in Malaysia, when there can be no basis for such belief, which is the mischievous creation of those who want to sow and incite racial and religious discord in the country.
All eyes are now on the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, whether it would reprimand Muhyiddin for the mischievous and irresponsible May 13 threat, and what steps and assurances the Cabinet can give to Malaysians and the international community that another May 13 is not possible in Malaysia.
I hope there will be a Minister who will ask Muhyddin whether his May 13 threat was intended to divert attention from his dismal failure as Education Minister in the latest violation of academic freedom in University of Malaya which jeopardizes the plan to restore its ranking as world’s Top 100 University.
Former Universiti Malaya vice-chancellor Tan Sri Professor Dr Ghauth Jasmon has revealed to The Malaysian Insider today that he was constantly harassed by Putrajaya over the unflattering findings by the university’s research centre, Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMcedel), lending weight to claims that the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition was unhappy with its work.
Tan Sri Professor Dr Ghauth Jasmon, who served as vice-chancellor at the public university from 2008 to 2013, said a senior politician had scolded him for not controlling former UMcedel director Professor Datuk Dr Redzuan Othman.
He was even warned about his job as UM vice chancellor.
In the run-up to the last genera election, the Barisan Nasional coalition had been rattled by UMcedel’s findings which showed the prime minister trailing behind opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
A UMcedel poll showed that more than 60% of voters surveyed favoured Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) manifesto, compared with just 50% who preferred BN’s election pledges.
It also showed that 43% of respondents believed that Anwar was qualified to be prime minister, pipping Najib by four percentage points.
Ghauth said despite the pressure from Putrajaya, he had defended Redzuan.
“UM is an academic institution, not (a) political institution. My job as VC is to defend the sanctity of the academic institution,” he said.
“Regardless of whether people are happy or not, the academic freedom of the institution is above everything.”
The university terminated Redzuan’s services as UMcedel director on March 31, although his contract only expired on December 31, 2014.
Redzuan’s tenure as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences was also not renewed on July 1, even though he was said to have received the highest votes from the academic staff to continue heading the faculty.
Ghauth said he was saddened over what happened to Redzuan, but added that he was still hopeful and believed in UM.
Ghauth said he and his peers had planned to steer UM into the list of top 100 universities in the world by 2015.
“I set the target of taking UM into the top 100 by 2015. I personally believed this would bring up Malaysia’s standing globally.”
But he was doubtful that UM could reach the goal under the current circumstances.
“I am not sure but I sense that it will be very tough,” he said.
UM has announced its goal of entering the QS World University Ranking’s top 100 by 2015.