Zambry: Pro-Israel professor's statement dangerous; there are better local professors than him

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

PUTRAJAYA, April 26 — Minister of Higher Education Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir today lambasted controversial American academic Bruce Gilley after the latter claimed that Malaysia is not safe for travellers after Putrajaya ordered that his events be cancelled due to his sensitive remarks.

Zambry deemed Gilley’s remarks as dangerous and could tarnish Malaysia’s image.

“We haven't said anything yet, he has run away. We are not even contemplating taking any form of action against him.

“Why did he run after that and make another statement saying that the situation is not safe? It is said that Malaysia practices Islamo-fascist, that is a very dangerous statement,” he told reporters during his ministry’s Hari Raya celebration, here.

Zambry said there are far better academicians in the country qualified to speak on the topic than the American.

“We need to respect the freedom of the university, but the most important thing, if you want to invite anyone, for example like me as a lecturer before, to be invited to give a talk, the university will check my background. What is my field of expertise and am I a respected scholar?

“This type of mediocre intellectual, how could you allow this kind of lecturer to come and teach us?

“We have so many professors much better than this guy in Malaysia,” he said.

Zambry said he still awaits a report from Universiti Malaya (UM) to explain the reason for inviting Gilley.

Gilley, a professor of political science at Portland State University, was invited by the Department of International and Strategic Studies for three events, starting with a seminar on international relations on Monday.

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.

UM has expressed regret for hosting Gilley, who also accused Malaysian leaders of advocating a “second Holocaust” for Jews in a lecture.