KUALA LUMPUR: A group of student activists have urged the federal government to uphold academic freedom and rebut the arguments of four academicians who are said to have written a report that caused Malaysia’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute.
The group said the government should enlighten the four lecturers named in a document that the students leaked on Sunday.
The document was said to have been submitted to the Malay Rulers in protest against Malaysia’s accession to the treaty and membership of the International Criminal Court.
In a statement today, the student activists said that the Pakatan Harapan government would be no different from the previous Barisan Nasional administration if any action was taken against the four lecturers named in the document.
They were Rahmat Mohamad, Shamrahayu Ab Aziz, Fareed Mohd Hassan, and Hisham Hanapi.
Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching told FMT that there had been no discussions at the ministry about the four lecturers. She said more time was needed for the matter to be studied thoroughly. She had earlier been reported to have said that the status of the four lecturers would be looked into by the ministry.
“If actions are taken against these academicians, there will not be any difference between the previous government and the current one. The government needs to respect the principle of academic freedom which is the main objective of the Education Ministry under Maszlee Malik,” the group said in a statement today.
“This is because the document was used by the royal institution to reject the Rome Statute. The documents prepared by the academicians should be debated and the academicians should have stepped forward to defend their arguments,” the statement said.
The group also said the government should educate the people about the Rome Statute, instead of washing their hands of the matter “with the excuse that the Rome Statute was manipulated by certain quarters until there was a confusion”.
They said the government had not taken the initiative to improve the situation.
The images of the document were published in a Facebook posting on Sunday which bore the names of Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi, Ainina Sofia Adnan, Nurhuda Ramli, Suhail Wan Azahar, Ahmad Taqiyuddin Shahriman, Wong Yan Ke, Chong Kar Yan, Nik Azura Nik Nasron and Siti Nurizzah Mohd Tazali.
They said they had exposed the document in order to encourage a public debate about the Rome Statute, as well as to draw public support for a petition to restore accession to the treaty.
In the memorandum to the Rulers, the four lecturers claimed that accession to the treaty would make the Yang di-Pertuan Agong liable to prosecution at the International Criminal Court in his capacity as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
They contended that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong held operational responsibilities as Supreme Commander, beyond that of a figurehead or ceremonial role.