Malaysiakini which covered the second public hearing by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity, heard the grievances made public by a senior lecturer of political science at a local Malaysian university with the administrators' overt attempts to stifle critical thoughts and inquiry.
Alleging blatant discrimination, the lecturer with 25 years service at a local university claims to have been dumped in cold storage for teaching her students to critically evaluate national policies.Apparently, (but unsurprisingly), faculty members were also told to remove Far Eastern Economic Review as well as the Aliran monthly from the list of reading material for students. The question then is, what type of sanitised "political science" are our Malaysian students being taught at the local universities? That there cannot exist contrarian and diverse views?
"I'm a political scientist. How can I not teach students to critically evaluate national policies? I don't simply criticise and do highlight the good and bad points," she said on condition of anonymity.
Political science was one of my degree subjects as part of my Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) course. Many have asked how the subject is relevant to the "real world" unless one is interested to become a "politician". My answer has always been straightforward. Political science gives a student plenty of diverse views from the presence of various political institutions around the world to various political and socio-economic theories such as Marxism and Democracy. Reading Marx and Engels (and enjoying it) doesn't make me a Marxist or Communist - instead it broadens my mind and exercises my thought faculties to analyse in depth the strengths and weakness of the various arguments, theories and assumptions.
Kian Ming is working towards his PhD in Political Science at Duke University. I'm certain that he is reading plenty of materials which may be regarded as harmful to national sensitivity and security, as defined by some of the vice-chancellors of the local universities. However, I'm certain that his degree with definitely be worth a fair bit more from those who graduate from the local universities purely from the fact that he will be exposed to a wide and diverse range of quality thought, instead of being restricted to propaganda on American democracy and political institutions.
Without alternate views, students will just no longer be challenged, which in turn, makes a mockery out of the political science degrees granted by the university. Sigh, no wonder we have idiots as "elected" student leaders who will happily tell the country's political leaders that they should be kept in a tight leash and be fed dog food for the country's leaders are omnipotent.
On a side note, it was also interesting to read the accusation the lecturer made that she has discovered a "second admission list" held by the vice-chancellor himself. Too bad, we are unable to find out more about this. I wonder which university we are talking about.... hmmm..