Rome Statute - four academics must defend their stand



LETTER | Earlier this month, on 7 April, nine student activists leaked to the online media and also through social media a document alleged to have been the executive summary of a presentation by four academics to the Council of Rulers.

The presentation argued that there were negative implications, particularly for Malaysia’s constitutional monarchs, of Malaysia becoming a signatory to the Statute of Rome.

Since then, the contents of the executive summary have been scrutinised and publicly critiqued by other academics, lawyers and even the students.

Unfortunately, the four academics, UiTM deputy vice-chancellor and law professor Rahmat Mohamad, IIUM law associate professor Shamrahayu Abdul Aziz and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (Usim) law lecturers, Fareed Mohd Hassan and Hisham Hanapi, have not countered these critiques.

Indeed, they have been as quiet as church mice in the public domain. Two have since declined - and the other two have not responded to - invitations to speak at a public forum on the Rome Statute, convened by a number of civil society and academic organisations, including Gerak.

The forum, to be held at Universiti Malaya on Saturday, April 27, now has five speakers, including the Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and renowned constitutional law expert Shad Saleem Faruqi. The student activist who led the expose, Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi, will also be speaking. The stage is indeed set for a productive teaching and learning session.

In this regard, Gerak, as an academic organisation concerned about academic integrity and accountability, calls upon the four academics above, all from public universities funded by Malaysian taxpayers, to come and speak at this public forum, to debate their stand.

Academics, like other professionals must defend the credibility and integrity of their work. Academic reputations – not only individual but also institutional - must be earned and upheld.

The above is issued by the executive committee of the Malaysian Academic Movement (Gerak).

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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