Debate your stand on Rome Statute at forum, 4 academics urged

The International Criminal Court.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Academic Movement (Gerak) has called on the four academics who advised the Malay rulers on the Rome Statute to debate their stand at a public forum to be held at Universiti Malaya on April 27.

The forum is being convened by a number of civil society and academic organisations, including Gerak, following the leak of the executive summary of the presentation by the academics to the rulers by nine student activists on April 7.

The four academics are Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) deputy vice-chancellor and law professor Rahmat Mohamad, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) law associate professor Shamrahayu Abdul Aziz and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) law lecturers Fareed Mohd Hassan and Hisham Hanapi.

Gerak noted the presentation argued that there were negative implications, particularly for Malaysia’s constitutional monarchs, of the country becoming a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Since then, it said, the contents of the executive summary have been scrutinised and publicly critiqued by other academics, lawyers and even students.

Unfortunately, the four academics have not countered these critiques, it said.

“Indeed, they have been as quiet as church mice in the public domain.

“Two have since declined – and the other two have not responded to – invitations to speak at the public forum,” Gerak’s executive committee said in a statement.

It said that five speakers, including Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, constitutional law expert Prof Shad Saleem Faruqi and the student activist who led the expose, Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi, have confirmed their participation.

“The stage is set for a productive teaching and learning session.

“In this regard, Gerak, as an academic organisation concerned about academic integrity and accountability, calls upon the four academics, from public universities funded by Malaysian taxpayers, to come and speak at this public forum, to debate their stand.

“Academics, like other professionals, must defend the credibility and integrity of their work.

“Academic reputations – not only individual but also institutional – must be earned and upheld,” it said.