UM must answer for platforming pro-Zionist US don, student groups say

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, April 25 — Kesatuan Mahasiswa Universiti Malaya (KMUM) today demanded that the management of Universiti Malaya (UM) take responsibility for a US-based professor’s claim that Malaysia was advocating a “second Holocaust” for Jews.

The group said doing so would help resolve the controversy over the professor’s remarks during a talk delivered on at the university, which it said has upset students and parts of the Malaysian public.

“Academic freedom is not wrong, but lectures should not be used as a space tospread Zionist propaganda. UM's deliberate negligence in inviting the academician who has controversial records can’t be used as an excuse anymore,” KMUM said in a statement.

KMUM then demanded to be consulted on any programmes to be organised at the university’s care centre, and for these to be approved by the group’s president or leadership committee before implementation.

It said this would reduce the risk of repeating the incident with Professor Bruce Gilley, whose other seminars have since been cancelled.

KMUM also reiterated its commitment to the Palestinian cause, both in Malaysia and internationally.

Separately, the Mahasiswa Progresif Universiti Malaya criticised the university’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences for inviting Gilley and providing him a platform to advocate for Zionism in Malaysia, questioning its motives for doing so.

The group said this was irresponsible and disappointing from the country’s premier university.

“Are they trying to show they do not support the stand taken by our prime minister to support the Palestinian people's struggle for independence?” it asked.

It then urged UM’s management to warn those using academic freedom to deliberately touch on sensitive matters.

On Tuesday, Gilley delivered a keynote address titled “Will Malaysia Become an Active Middle Power”. Yesterday, in an X post about the speech, he said “a country whose political leaders advocate a second Holocaust against the Jewish people will never be a serious player in world affairs, and will certainly never be a friend or partner of the US”.

Gilley pointed to the remarks of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Agriculture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu.

He has since deleted the post, claiming it was for the safety and well-being of UM staff who invited him.

Gilley is known to be a supporter of Israel, displaying the state's flag on his X account.

He is also a controversial figure among the Western academia for praising Western colonialism and saying it should be “reclaimed”, considered “legitimate”, and even “resurrected”.

In 2017, his article The Case for Colonialism was published in the Third World Quarterly journal and provoked massive controversy resulting in two petitions signed by thousands of academics calling for the editor responsible to be sacked, while 15 of the journal's 34-member editorial board resigned in protest.

Among others, he suggested that governments in developing countries replicate “colonial governance of their pasts” — citing Singapore as a successful example.

On his X account earlier this week, Gilley had also mocked an exhibit of the British colonial and the Malayan resistance in the National Museum here.

In October last year, he wrote an article titled The Academic Roots of Hamas's Terror, blaming the American academia for furthering support for Hamas.