Yesterday, in Asli director resigned, where I posted that Dr Lim Teck Ghee, Director of Asli, resigned from his position in Asli following the decision of Asli president Mirzan Mahathir to retract that study report. Mirzan had commented that Asli’s methodology on the controversial bumi equity question contained a number of shortcomings and was flawed.
I then questioned whether Mirzan Mahathir was academically qualified to comment so, which raised the further question of his decision to withdraw the study report as one bowing to UMNO political pressure rather than academic scrupulous rigours.
I dare say Dr Lim and his multi-ethnic team who put up that report have been the credible party, further evidenced by his principled resignation in disagreement with Mirzan.
Two Malaysian media watchdogs have emerged to criticise Mirzan for his decision. They said they were saddened that Mirzan had bowed to political pressure in disavowing the report.
The Writers Alliance for Media Independence (Wami) and the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) said academic freedom and the freedom of expression must be respected.
They declared in a joint statement: “If the CPPS [Asli] report is flawed or misleading, the case should be put forward with the same or a higher level of intellectual rigour.”
“The best weapon for the government to use in rebutting the CPPS finding would be to publicise its own data and analysis.”
But what the UMNO-led government can’t or more correctly, won’t, for obvious reason?
The two movements expressed their highest salutation to Lim for standing up to unscrupulous political pressures expressed in ethno-centrist language. They called the racially motivatated condemnations of Dr Lim and his report as an assault on academic freedom, and that all academics have a duty to defend that freedom.
Many Malaysians including KTemoc add their salutations to Dr Lim. But KTemoc doubts all academics would jump to defend freedom of expression. Some would even readily abet the government suppression of truth and facts.
OK, now here’s the political angle from across the fence. DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the credibility and integrity of the Asian Strategic and Leadership Institute (Asli) is now in question after its president Mirzan Mahathir retracted that study.
Lim said what KTemoc had said, that Mirzan did so without providing an iota of academic or rational reasons. Lim believed like what KTemoc did, that Mirzan buckled to the barrage of criticism over the report.
Lim stated: “Clearly Mirzan’s retraction was politically motivated and not driven by any flaws or shortcomings either in its methodology or research data.”
Sadly, Mirzan doesn't seem to be the son of his more courageous and resolute father.