UUM lecturer not suing critics, says he respects free speech

Kamarul-YusoffPETALING JAYA: Controversial lecturer Kamarul Zaman Yusoff had thought of filing a lawsuit against those who attempted to “character assassinate” him, after his police report against DAP’s Hannah Yeoh.

But as he respected the constitutional freedom of speech, the Universiti Utara Malaysia lecturer said he decided to hold it off first and face his critics head on instead.

“Lim Kit Siang said I’m an Umno propagandist. Others said I’m a racist, an extremist. If I want to sue them, I can. My lawyer friends have been advising me to do just that,” Kamarul told FMT.

He was referring to Lim’s statement on Wednesday, in which the DAP supremo called Kamarul a “downline Umno propagandist” who didn’t know what he was doing, and who was just “cannon fodder” for many.

“But because I was trained in the West, I was greatly influenced by Western philosophers who support exchanges of opinions.

“That’s why I haven’t resorted to legal action, as everyone is entitled to freedom of speech. And as long as I can defend myself, I will do so.”

This however, doesn’t mean that a lawsuit is completely off the table, he added.

“If they go overboard I will sue them, especially if it affects the public’s opinion of me.”

Kamarul has found himself under the spotlight since May 17, when he lodged a police report against Selangor speaker Yeoh.

In the report, he accused Yeoh of attempting to proselytise through her autobiography “Becoming Hannah: A Personal Journey”.

Some had labelled him an extremist, while others, especially those from DAP and other Pakatan Harapan component parties questioned his credibility as well as his ability to teach at a public university.

“I’m not a racist. I studied in the US, where I didn’t have any problems mixing with non-Muslims. I also have very close relationships with the non-Malays,” Kamarul said in his defence.

He also claimed to have worked with DAP’s Zaid Ibrahim in 2008, when the latter was a law minister.

“Why would Zaid, who is a liberal, make me his special officer for eight months if I’m an extremist?”

Kamarul had earlier told FMT that he wasn’t the one who started the fight with Yeoh or DAP.

But when Yeoh lodged a police report against him for his analysis on her book, which was uploaded on his personal Facebook page, he had no choice but to defend himself by also going to the police, Kamarul had said.

“And in that first article, I didn’t highlight anything about a Christian agenda. I just highlighted DAP’s inconsistency when it comes to the party’s stand on secularism.”

In her report filed on May 15, Yeoh alleged that 16 others, including news publications like Harakah Daily and Utusan Malaysia, as well as a number of blogs had reproduced the analysis Kamarul had written.

She had claimed that Kamarul had defamed her by alleging she had mixed politics with her Christian faith, through her book.

Book makes me admire ‘Hannah Yeoh’s God’, says lecturer in report

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