23 May 2018

Media Statement 21 May 2018


The Malaysian Academic Movement (MOVE), also known as Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (GERAK), would like to congratulate Y.B. Dr. Maszlee Malik, on being appointed the Minister of Education in the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) cabinet line up. We strongly believe that with his academic credentials and long-standing experience as a scholar in Malaysia, Dr. Maszlee will be able to perform his duties effectively and carry out the structural and institutional reforms needed in our education system.

GERAK welcomes PH’s institutional reform agendas, and looks forward to the translation of its manifold pledges into a programme of action. As academics, we are especially eager to see reforms in education, and we draw on first-hand knowledge of the problems ailing our universities, as well as the potential that can be tapped. We wish to highlight a few areas of reforms that we believe will help make our universities more vibrant, excellent and progressive.

1. Restructure university administration
The practice of political appointments of Chairman, Board of Directors, Vice Chancellors, Deputy Vice Chancellors and other top university management has to stop. In fact, we urge the new Minister of Education to immediately replace all these political appointees with independent-minded, honest, accountable, creative, empathetic, and altruistic leaders by university search committees comprising academics of quality and experience.

2. Abolish laws that stifle academic freedom
The impediments to academic freedom and excellence - such as the Akta Universiti dan Kolej Universiti (AUKU), the Aku Janji, and the Statutory Bodies (Discipline and Surcharge) Act prohibiting academics from expressing themselves - must go. They do nothing to make academia grow intellectually; instead they control and constrain academia for rather idiotic political reasons.

3. Change the notion that universities are factories
The role of universities is higher than that of just providing labour for the market. We urge the new Minister of Education to uphold this philosophy so that we can truly develop, nurture and facilitate more creative and critical individuals who will have more to offer to society.

4. Uphold meritocracy over kulitocracy
The new Minister of Education must take the lead in looking at crucial questions of equal opportunity and access to all stages of education, replacing kulitocracy with meritocracy. There must be a removal of any discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, gender, class and age.

GERAK urges the new Minister of Education to ensure that the recruitment of academics and support staff and the enrolment of students reflect the diversity of Malaysian society. In other words, recruitment and enrolment must be on the basis of merit (and a means test for potential undergraduates) and not other considerations.

5. Emphasize ‘why’ over ‘how’ learning
Universities need to replace rote learning with creative pedagogy. In this regard, the new Minister of Education will need to spearhead an overhaul that would in the end lead to our education system emphasizing the `why' questions instead of just the `how' ones.

6. Stop the obsession with ISI publications
Universities should allow academics to publish in all reputable journals without discriminating the non-ISI ones. The publication of books or chapters in books (especially among social scientists) should also be promoted and not be deemed as second-class publication.

7. Dissolve Majlis Professor Negara (MPN)
At many instances since it was formed, MPN has been used to legitimize the previous ruling party rather than promoting knowledge and helping the country in nation-building. Hence it should be dissolved immediately. Furthermore, professors should not be institutionalized. They should have the freedom to engage with the government, CSOs, society or other stakeholders without the need to go through a council like MPN.

8. Establish the Committee on Institutional Reforms of Higher Education
The new Minister of Education should establish the Committee on Institutional Reforms of Higher Education so that other area of reforms that need further deliberation can be looked into. Among the examples are the appointment of academics/support staff, promotion criteria, the abolishment/reform of MyRA, and the many red tapes in accepting external fundings.

GERAK believes that with these fundamental reforms, Malaysian universities can finally reclaim their autonomy and freedom; both crucial in producing academic excellence.

We wish Dr. Maszlee Malik all the best in carrying out his duties, especially in making good the reform agenda with which he has been entrusted.

Media Statement 20 May 2018


GERAK congratulates Dr Maszlee Malik on being elected the Member of Parliament (MP) for Simpang Renggam at the recent 14th General Elections and, now, for being appointed the Malaysian Minister of Education.

Since the announcement of his appointment, it feels as though there is a lynching mob out for Maszlee's blood. People are throwing around terms like `Islamist' in a derogatory manner and we suspect many don't even know what that means.

Granted, we are supposed to be on the road to more open-ness now. But we find this mob mentality rather unhealthy and distasteful.

Dr Maszlee may not be an ideal candidate for some of us. But at least he is an academic who shares our vision and objectives. And as for his alleged ideological leanings, we believe that he is at least the devil that we know rather than any purported angel that we don’t.

Let us note the new social context we are in. We are not going to accept going back to the past. Let us also note that one Minister alone with his personal views cannot just change the whole education system in one go. It is a juggernaut. A very hot potato juggernaut that parents, educationists and civil society will defend and attempt to influence.

Yes, we must continue to exercise our rights to express our views and dissent. But we must do so in a responsible manner that will not jeopardize our broader objective of putting our higher education on the right track. Indeed, let us debate, discuss, even disagree, if we must. But let us do so based on knowledge, not blind ignorance or a follow-the-leader, jump on the bandwagon mentality

So, GERAK extends Dr Maszlee our full support regardless of the apprehensions that some have about him. We need to move forward and we cannot wait for an ideal situation to do so. There will never be one.

And in the new spirit of openness, GERAK's support for Dr Maszlee shall not be a blind one. We aim to engage Dr Maszlee and this new government in a substantively constructive yet critical manner for the overall good of all Malaysians. We urge all Malaysians to do likewise to ensure we secure a lasting democracy for our society.

Prof. Zaharom Nain, Chairman
GERAK Executive Committee

07 May 2018

Aspirasi Akademik Malaysia

To the new government of Malaysia after GE14:


Academic Freedom
Freedom from political interference – greater autonomy at tertiary level – eg., appointments
Universities should never be factories
Raising of academic standards at all levels
Meritocracy to replace kulitocracy
Restructuring of the education system
Replace rote learning with creative pedagogy
Emphasise `WHY’ instead of `HOW’
Equal opportunity and access to all stages of education
Removal of any discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, wealth, age


A more mature and understanding people
Which requires a liberating education system, not one that constrains and is conformist
The restoration of democracy and the righting of wrongs
Replacing a flawed democracy with one that is based on justice and honour
Perpetrators of heinous crimes against the nation must be brought to justice
Restoration of the independence of institutions
Judiciary, law and order agencies (police, AG chambers), banking
Genuine multiculturalism
Based on mutual respect (ethnic, gender, wealth, geography, for eg.), not based on silly slogans like `1Malaysia’ and `Malaysia Truly Asia’
They are silly and inane not because of what they could really mean, but because of the hypocrisy of the people who devised them.

Submitted by
Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (GERAK)
Forum Aspirasi Rakyat
Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan
MIECC, The Mines, Balakong
6 May 2018

03 May 2018

GERAK media statement



email: akademikmalaysia@gmail.com

27 April 2018

The academic community in Malaysia was shocked and angered with the early morning brutal murder of fellow academic, Dr. Fadi Al Batsh. We, the Malaysian academics, offer our condolence to the family of Dr Fadi. May they be strong and resolute in facing this test from Allah.

Dr. Fadi Al Batsh was a lecturer in electrical engineering at the University of Kuala Lumpur (UniKL). He got his PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Malaya where he was an outstanding student, winning scholarship and numerous awards. He continued with his research at UniKL, to include supervising postgraduate students.

Accusations have been made about his alleged involvement in the Palestine-Israel conflict, including being suspected to be involved in attack on Israel. However, even if these were true, although no evidence has been forthcoming, this does not justify any extrajudicial murder in a country not involved in the conflict. He should have been charged and tried in a competent court of law. Not mercilessly gunned-down, as he was.

While recognizing and supporting the peaceful resolution of the Palestine-Israel conflict, GERAK also strongly believes that Malaysia must stop being used as a battle ground for this and other conflicts. GERAK urged support for the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) campaign (http://bdsmalaysia.com/h/) to push both sides to make peace. We hope that such effort will help to end the injustice in the region and the unnecessary killings on both sides.

30 March 2018