PETALING JAYA: The interference of the Ministry of Education (MoE) that had resulted in the resignation of the UM Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMcedel) director Redzuan Othman is appalling and an infringement of academic freedom.
“MoE has targeted Redzuan for his academic work on the electoral survey results because his work allegedly puts Barisan National (BN) in a negative light,” said the Coalition of Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) in a statement released today.
“Lecturers must have the freedom to teach or communicate ideas or facts and scholars must have the freedom to question and speak their minds.”
The Ministry’s action shows a suppression toward a healthy debate on clean and fair elections.
Bersih urged the rakyat to value the contribution of electoral reform surveys conducted by relevant institutions or groups who are making an “effort toward effecting democratic changes and improving the expression of the public via elections.”
Bersih congratulated former Deputy Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah for his principled act of resigning as a UM senior research fellow.
“It is encouraging to see brave Malaysians who are willing to stand up and be counted,” applauded Bersih in reference to the UM Union and Academic Staff (PKAUM)’s outspoken stance against the MoE’s interference.
The Bersih steering committee has called for Redzuan’s immediate reinstatement.
“We demand that the MoE back off and allow UM to make independent decisions regarding the hiring and firing of their academic staff,” said Bersih.