Asli report: Academias independence a victim

First of all, let me congratulate Dr Lim Teck Ghee for standing up for his principles and I must say I truly admire his integrity. Until specific research is done to prove his findings wrong, his research should not be dismissed just like that. Anyone saying that he is wrong must be prepared to back up their allegations with facts and figures.

It is easy to sit in an armchair and criticise. These critics may not know that to do a research on such a scale, a lot of time and effort are put into. This Asli report was input for the government many months ago, why the sudden fuss over it? One cannot help but conclude that racial politics has again reared its ugly head and this time and the victim this time is not only Lim, but the independence of the academia.

If academicians cannot do their research in a neutral and free environment, how are we going to achieve excellence in research? How are we going to achieve excellence in our tertiary institutions? In our society?

To achieve excellence, we need academic freedom to probe and research. We need academic freedom to allow everyone to come out with new ideas and inventions. Without that, we will always be a mediocre nation, a mediocre people. We need to let a thousand blossoms bloom. Otherwise, our universities will be going backwards and our sciences will not be able to compete.

I think we are too engrossed in the division of the economic cake. As a person who loves the country, it really pains me to see that every thing in our country has become racial. We should put our effort more in enlarging our cake, in making ourselves more competitive against the outside world.

In this globalised world where the world is fast becoming 'flattened', in the words of Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Thomas Friedman, we should realise that our competition is not our own people. It is the outside world.

Technology is advancing at a lightning speed. The boundaries between nations are becoming blurred and the world is becoming smaller. If our thinking still remains in the archaic world of the 60s and 70s, where everything was racial, we are going to be left behind. Our economy is going to be left standing. Our people, irrespective of ethnic origin, are going to suffer. Maybe only a few thousands of the so-called elite may escape this phenomenon but the majority of us and our children will suffer.

We have a very beautiful and intelligent people. But as a small nation, our resources are limited. We need all the intelligent people to come together, irrespective of race or creed, and work together to get our nation moving forward at a faster pace, to make our cake expand at a faster rate. Then, ultimately, all of us are going to have a bigger slice than what we are getting now.

Malaysians, I appeal to all of you to be more open-minded and forward-looking. Please come out of the racial cocoon. We need to do that in the true spirit of unity and not just in form only.

Together let us do our great leap forward!