Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Dr Terence Gomez Saga - The Fallout?

After the much publicised affair over the forced resignation of Dr Terence Gomez from University Malaya in order for him to accept the offer of a position with the United Nations, and the subsequent reversal of the decision by our Prime Minister himself, it looks like some of the negative consequences are now surfacing.

For a background to the Dr Terence Gomez affair, read my blog post here and the reinstatement by our Prime Minister here.

Apparently, the University of Malaya Vice Chancellor Prof Dr. Hashim Yaacob who suffered a major loss of face (although his skin is still quite thick because he has still not offered to resign over the debacle), is now on a witch-hunt against university staff who had openly supported Dr Gomez.

Parliamentary Opposition leader, Lim Kit Siang, who played a significant role in publicising the episode and ensuring that the Prime Minister gave his due consideration over the issue, has raised in his press statement on 26th July, requesting:

The Minister for Higher Education, Datuk Dr. Shafie Salleh should direct the University of Malaya Vice Chancellor Prof Dr. Hashim Yaacob to halt the campus witch-hunt because of his Terence Gomez debacle and focus instead on restoring the international reputation of the
country’s premier university for academic excellence and freedom.

Hashim will only be compounding his mishandling of the Terence Gomez secondment issue if he now seeks to vent his spleen at the embarrassment he suffered as a result of the Prime Minister’s intervention by gunning for easier targets, like the President of the University of Malaya Academic Staff Union (PKAUM), Professor Rosli Mahat, who had been issued a “show cause” letter by the Vice Chancellor for his support of Dr Terence Gomez during the Gomez controversy.

I do hope that the Minister of Higher Education, whose position as a minister is under threat in the upcoming cabinet reshuffle - will do the right thing on behalf of the Prime Minister and insist that the UM Vice Chancellor focus on his duties and responsibilities. Should the UM Vice Chancellor remain recalcitrant, then I assume it will be his prerogative to seek a replacement candidate for the position.

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