LETTER

Debate and engage academics, not punish them

Lim Wei Jiet

2 May 2019, 11:22 am

Updated a year ago

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LETTER | I refer to the letter Rome Statute: Positions of four academics no longer tenable.

 With the greatest of respect, I disagree with the writer’s views. 

Academics in the "New Malaysia" should not be penalised for supposedly failing to gain prior permission of superiors before giving their opinions. 

Nor should they be shackled by archaic civil service codes of conduct. All these bureaucracies and threats of punishment will only serve to stifle academic freedom.

Academics should also not be prohibited from having a differing view against government policy. 

If that is the norm, we will only produce government bootlickers instead of independent critical scholars. It is only through robust debates and disagreements that good policies are formulated for the rakyat.

This is not to say we cannot hold academics accountable for their erroneous and unsubstantiated opinions if any. 

We should attack the substance of such opinions, rather than whether they were permitted to air such opinion in the first place.


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