Home Media statements 2014 Media Statements Why is Universiti Malaya afraid of Anwar Ibrahim?

Why is Universiti Malaya afraid of Anwar Ibrahim?

Photograph: themalaysianinsider.com

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We can understand why Barisan Nasional, particularly Umno, is so terrified of Anwar Ibrahim. If anyone can send the BN packing off from Putrajaya, it has to be Anwar.

Photograph: themalaysianinsider.com
Photograph: themalaysianinsider.com

He is the only one who can hold Pakatan Rakyat together and mount an effective challenge to unseat BN from Putrajaya. He is the only one who can galvanise the Malays and non-Malays to come together to bring about a change in government.

Anwar is undoubtedly a political threat to the BN’s power and position. So they fear him – with justification!

Why is Universiti Malaya afraid of Anwar? Is he any threat to UM? What kind of threat does he pose to UM? Why are they imposing a ban on his speaking engagement at the invitation of the UM Students’ Council?

No logical justification has been stated for barring him from speaking at Dataran Dewan Tunku Canselor in UM except some unconvincing and unacceptable reason extended by the UM’s vice-chancellor of student affairs, Professor Datuk Dr Rohana Yusof, who came up with the silly notion “that UM would never allow or support such a programme as it was against the university rules and had tarnished its reputation.”

What university rules have been breached? In what way can the university’s reputation be tarnished if Anwar were to speak at his alma mater?

Is UM colluding with the BN to bar Anwar from speaking to the students? UM is not an extension of the BN. It is not BN’s agency.

Is UM wilfully denying a free discussion and debate and exchange of ideas in UM?

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Any university must live up to its reputation as a seat of learning. It must live up to the peoples’ expectation that it is a powerhouse of knowledge where future leaders are groomed and exposed to various contending issues so that they will come out as thinking and reasoning individuals who can uphold justice and freedom of expression.

But UM is deliberately stifling the growth of mature students who can decide for themselves and organise activities that are deemed necessary and suitable. Can’t the students act as thinking adults who are capable of organising themselves without any interference from the authorities?

If it is feared that Anwar would influence the students so easily, it is a terrible indictment of the university itself. Is it implied that UM students are an unthinking and unreasoning lot who can be swayed effortlessly in spite of their university education? If that is the implication, then it is a disgrace that UM has failed miserably in inculcating critical thinking and analysis.

But that is not the case. It would appear that UM is merely doing a favour to the BN by coming up with silly excuses to prevent Anwar from speaking to the students. They don’t want to give him space to curtail his influence.

Aliran calls on UM to rescind their totally unjustified ban on Anwar and salvage its tattered image caused by its silly actions.

P Ramakrishnan
Aliran executive committee member
26 October 2014

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