Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Solidarity with Dr. Terence Gomez

"Solidarity with Dr. Terence Gomez"

Venue: Kelana Seafood Centre, Lot 1122, SS7, Jalan Perbandaran, Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya

Date: Monday, 13 June 2005
Time: 8.30 p.m.

Tickets are priced at RM40 per person or RM400 per table.
There are limited tables specially reserved for students atRM20 each, on a first-come first-served basis.

Tickets: Carmen/Ms Lim/Ms Yong at 03-79578022 / 79578127

The dinner has the following purposes:
  • To express Malaysians' support, sympathy and solidarity with Dr. Terence Gomez;

  • For distinguished Malaysian personalities, both academics and non-academics, to express their views on the Terence Gomez debacle and the continuing higher education crisis in Malaysia;

  • To articulate and mobilize national aspirations for democratization and liberalization of higher education policies to create "towering Malaysian personalities"; and

  • A public platform for Dr. Terence Gomez on his thoughts on being the latest victim of the prolonged higher education crisis in the country. Distinguished Malaysian personalities, both academics and non-academics, will be invited together with Dr.Terence Gomez as guest speakers at the dinner.

For those who are still unaware with regards to the crisis regarding Dr Terence Gomez, an academic from University Malaya, here's a quick recap from someof the articles which has been published in the last 1-2 weeks:

From the Sun on 30th May 2005:
ASSOCIATE Professor Dr Edmund Terence Gomez is not the first or only respected Malaysian scholar who has chosen to resign from a local university in order to further his or her academic career in an internationalorganisation.

Gomez had applied for a two-year secondment from Universiti Malaya (UM)after being appointed manager for a research project at the United NationsResearch Institute for Social Development in Geneva. His application was rejected. The reasons were not made known to him untilthe matter was highlighted in the press.

In an official statement last week, UM said it could not release Gomez because he was needed at the university.

"Higher education in crisis 2" by Jeff Ooi on Screenshots:
"Terence Gomez is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill lecturer," said the PKAUM [UM Academic Staff Association ] in the press statement. "From the numerous letters from academics from all over the world, it is evident that his academic work is recognised internationally."

"Every effort should be made by the Universiy of Malaya's management to retain him at the university," PKAUM added.

Letter from Dr Gomez on his wife's leave application to UM:
This application for leave, as my wife had explained in her letter, was so that the and our three children would be able to join me in Geneva. On Tuesday (May 24), my wife received a written response from her head which stated: ‘I must emphasise to you that I will not support your application for unpaid leave. We will expect you to resume your duties in Semester 2, 2005/2006.’

Letter from Ong Kian Ming on crisis impact on UM international reputation:

The recent appalling treatment of Associate Professor Edmund Terence Gomezby the University of Malaya (UM) has repercussions far beyond the parochial imagination of the university's administrators.

...this episode only cements the view of foreign academics regardingthe precipitous decline in the standards of academia in public universitiesin Malaysia.

Perhaps an even bigger loss to the country and its public universities is not the talent that it is getting rid off or the foreign talent that itwould not be able to recruit, but the fact that many Malaysians who are doing their PhDs abroad would be further dissuaded from coming back to teach and contribute to the Malaysian academia.

"Create Harvard of the East" column by Azly Rahman at Malaysiakini.com:

There is more to Malaysian higher education than the definition offered bythe minister of higher education.

If only the minister had understood that education is not about creatingideologically-driven universities but academies of studies with aphilosophical foundation and able to pursue in-depth inquiries fashionedafter great medieval universities.

"Requiem for scholarship and excellence" column by Sim Kwang Yang at Malaysiakini.com:

The country has lost yet another talented and principled scholar. MU, that institution of higher learning that once enjoyed an exalted position among similar institutions in Southeast Asia in the early years of our independence, has taken another dip on its path of slow but certain
The brain hemorrhage of the nation continues unabated.

In my wildest dream, I would envision hoards of angry university students -numbering perhaps
in the tens of thousands - descending upon the MU campusto protest the blatant humiliation of our prominent academics at the hands of faceless bureaucrats and arrogant politicians. But alas, this is Malaysia!

Can we have faith that our current government administration eat a little humble pie, and right the very wrongs? I'm keeping my fingers crossed. There's been so much more written on the Dr Terence Gomez issue already, such that it's probably not worth much more for me to comment. I'll pay my RM40 contribution and see you guys at the dinner.

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