Sabtu, Oktober 29, 2011

Alexia : The Need of Academic Freedom

By  Phang Siew Chin @ Alexia, The Vice President  I  of Student Representative Council 2010/2011.Currently a 4th Year Law Student in the National University of Malaysia.28 October 2011

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Recently, Prof. Aziz Bari, a renowned Law Professor from the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) was given a show cause letter after over allegedly seditious remarks he made about the Sultan regarding his decree on the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS).

The question arises as to what is academic freedom in Malaysia? Is an academician allowed to make comments and remarks only in favor of a specific group of people or should they comment for the overall purpose of public interest to improve the awareness of society? 3 things that came to mind and should be highlighted is this: academic freedom, university autonomy and the non-interference of political parties. Does this incident signal the further decline of the standard of our Malaysian academia?

Academic freedom is paramount because it allows people especially academicians to speak with honesty and trustworthy  to the society and to educate people with knowledge within their field of expertise.

Following this, university autonomy and the non-interference of political parties, are also related and must be ensured. It generally means that the university should be independent and free from the pressures of any political party so that intellectual growth will flourish among students and academicians. What would happen if there is no autonomy and the existence of interference from political parties? An example, would be the present case. Political parties would interfere by asking the university administration to punish a particular professor, although the statement made might be related to the Constitution and within the perimeters and principles of the Constitution. It is vital that we uphold and practice academic freedom, university autonomy, and non-interference of political parties so that incidences similar to that of Prof Aziz Bari will not happen again.

With these, I conclude that Freedom of academician, autonomy and non-interference of political parties in the incident happened to Prof. Aziz Bari assured and improve the education and society as whole.