MOVE would like to draw attention to the recent allegations and undue pressures impressed upon our fellow academic Professor Abdul Aziz Bari.
We are concerned and troubled by the negative remarks and personal attacks towards Prof Abdul Aziz. He is well qualified to make his stand clear over matters within his field of expertise. Threats and personal attacks are inappropriate and unprofessional. If anyone disagrees with him, they should be engaging him in a rational and professional discourse.
As an academic renowned for his contribution to the academia, Prof Aziz has the right to express his professional views freely and without prejudice as upheld by the notion of academic freedom. Academic freedom is a basic right of every academic, and must be respected and preserved.
The various principles of academic rights and academic freedom are enshrined in a UNESCO document, “Recommendations Concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel”, which was conceded by the UNESCO General Assembly on the 11th of November 1997; among others, Article 26 and 27 have stated clearly that academics’ freedom involves “the right to contribute to social change through freely expressing their opinion of state policies and of policies affecting higher education”. It further emphasizes “they should not suffer any penalties simply because of the exercise of such rights”. The recent provocative actions directed towards Prof Aziz shows a clear violation of the said articles.
MOVE/GERAK once again invites all concerned to reflect on the basics of academic rights and freedom. As we envision Malaysia to be a developed nation, may this nation be not left behind in its fundamentals of upholding the sovereignty of academic institutions and that of academic freedom. Let us be hopeful to shape a country that provides world class education; excellent in all its ways, yet has not sacrificed its soul to get there. All stakeholders must be in compliance with the Recommendation for Malaysia to be a hub for higher education on par with world class universities.