Malaysiakini Yoursay

Yoursay: UKM’s Muein made his bed, he has to lie in it

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YOURSAY | ‘Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom to spew venom and rubbish.’

Kadir Jasin taken to task after calling for action against academic

Anonymous_1527925538: Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (Gerak), what did prime minister's media and communications adviser A Kadir Jasin do wrong exactly?

That it is a crime to criticise the works of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia lecturer Abdul Muein Abadi, and cautioning the Education Ministry to monitor for any biased rubbish from the “deep state” out to undermine public trust in the government?

Odysseus: Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom to spew venom and rubbish.

A good example is what happened in Johor with the pollution in Pasir Gudang, when someone accused Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin of being biased.

How should we handle this situation? Sue them and let them put forward their evidence. Talk is cheap, but there's a fine line between right and wrong.

Athena: I agree with @Odysseus that freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom to spew venom and rubbish.

Gerak, it's not about your truth or my truth, it's about facts. So, if an article is not factual, it should be pointed out and if necessary, condemned.

Why is Gerak now trying to curtail Kadir's “freedom of speech” when he was pointing out the twisted 'facts' of that so-called academician?

Iphonezours: Kadir, please, no more of the old way of doing things. In this ‘New Malaysia’, anybody is free to present their ideas or comments.

If UKM’s Muein has presented rubbish, then it has to be rebutted with facts from the Finance Ministry and Bank Negara.

To condemn this academic is the same as what BN did to academics back then when they fell out of line.

BA Baracus: One would expect a group of academics like Gerak to understand the basic concept of freedom of speech working both ways.

I understand that Kadir may seem like he has the power of the state behind him, but all he said in his blog was that Education Minister Maszlee Malik should provide an “explanation.”

While I don’t want to seem like a Harapan partisan, he is not explicitly directing Maszlee to fire Muein.

If Muein does indeed suffer any career repercussion from this episode – as he says he has already been “threatened” – then all bets are off, and Kadir deserves all the criticisms hurled his way.

Also, Muein’s article was published in Umno Online, a partisan publication if ever there was one.

So it’s not like that lecturer was keeping the discussion in the confines of academia, as he would have done if he published his article in a journal – where Kadir would probably not even have stumbled upon it.

Muein made his bed, he has to lie in it.

Rick Teo: Gerak doesn’t know what it is talking about.

The poor state of our academia is not due to interference, but due mainly to the poor quality of our academics, where people are appointed not because of meritocracy, but due to ‘kulitfication’ or one’s skin colour.

Many of the present academics in our universities are not there based on merit. That is why we churn out poor quality graduates who just adopt the same poor culture as their teachers.

Anonymous 1398063222: This is ‘New Malaysia’! Stop the intimidation. Let academics defend themselves if they pressured or feel bullied.

If they think what they say is correct, let them put forward their points.

Truthseeker: I agree that there should be freedom of speech.

But the four academics cited by Gerak, who provided invalid reasons for the rulers to reject the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court thereby making Malaysia an outcast state, deserve to be criticised or even punished.

They are responsible for causing a negative perception of Malaysia in the opinion of the world, and wrote their paper without realising the repercussions.

Vgeorgemy: We still can’t understand why the basic review of an article has become an issue of censorship and interference in the academic world. It is not.

Society expects a certain quality of academic work from a person who is currently pursuing a PhD.

We are not addressing an article written by an undergraduate, but a graduate student seeking a taxpayer-funded doctorate. If the lecturer was attached to a private institution, the issue may be different.

When a scholar discusses national wealth, he must state in the introduction of his past articles and knowledge on the subject. The main text must address the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of the subject matter.

The author must present his solutions to the weaknesses identified. This was the body structure of an article we were trained to write during our undergraduate days.

Once it is published, we will have certain number of critics on the matters addressed. Some of them are persuasive and few are very harsh, even asking us to quit writing so we will not waste readers’ precious time and money.

We have never been trained to consider these criticisms as the violation of freedom of speech and academic freedom, but look at the issues holistically.

Quo Vadis: “Such interference is one of the major reasons why Malaysian academia is in the sad state it is in,” Gerak says.

Perhaps this august body could also turn its mind to asseverate on other more basic and critical reasons for this state of affairs. 

Or it could hunker down, and close the lid tight on the Pandora’s box. Their call.

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These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.

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