UM student union calls for accountability over foreign professor controversy

KUALA LUMPUR: The Universiti Malaya Student's Union (UMSU) is calling on the university's administration to provide an explanation on the decision to invite a foreign professor believed to be pro-Zionist as a guest speaker at the university.

In a statement , the union said the remarks made by the speaker, Bruce Gilley, during the lecture have provoked strong reactions among students, including from UMSU.

"Academic freedom is not wrong, but when the lecture is used as a platform to propagate Zionist propaganda, it becomes a concern.

"The deliberate negligence of UM in inviting this academic figure with a history of controversy cannot be justified any longer.

"The highest management of UM must be responsible for clarifying their stance and promptly responding to the issues at hand.

"UMSU believes that with such action, it can address all the issues and perceptions currently stirring within the country," said the statement.

Yesterday, the Higher Education Ministry directed UM to submit a report on the incident.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said all events and activities involving the controversial figure must be cancelled immediately.

UMSU reiterated its firm and clear stance against the statements made by the foreign professor and asked that the university's highest administration involve the union in any programmes organised at all levels.

"Every programme must also obtain approval from the UMSU president or at least the highest cabinet committee of UMSU.

"This ensures that matters that provoke the sensitivities and anger of the Malaysian people do not recur, especially from our beloved university platform.

"UMSU once again wants to state our position by supporting any agenda in advocating for the Palestinian issue domestically and internationally," they explained.

The union requested that all UM students refrain from worsening the situation by spreading unfounded speculations.

Previously on Apr 9, the UM Chinese Studies Institute issued an open invitation to a seminar titled "Reassessing Republican China: featuring Gilley which was supposed to have taken place today.

On Apr 16, the Department of International and Strategic Studies announced the Visiting Professor Programme 2024, where Gilley was invited to deliver a lecture and conduct a workshop for three days from Apr 22 to 24.On the second day of the workshop. during the lecture titled "Will Malaysia Become an Active Middle Power?" Gilley posted a statement on X which read: "A country whose political leaders advocate a second Holocaust against the Jewish people will never be a serious player in world affairs, and will certainly never be a friend or partner of the United States."This garnered attention from Malaysian society, especially UM students.

As a result of the controversy, the UM Chinese Studies Institute has cancelled the seminar featuring Gilley.

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