This is an excerpt from Guan Eng’s clarification on 8 July 2016 regarding his remarks to Penang Institute, which stirred a controversy:
The gist of the text of my speech stresses on the practice of freedom in Penang, the only place where there is freedom before speech and freedom after speech in Malaysia.
I had reminded Penang Institute that whilst such freedom gives them the right to dissent and have opposing views with the state government even publicly, as the principal funders of Penang Institute the state government expects loyalty. In other words, they can not work secretively and surreptitiously with those who openly oppose and wants to bring down the state government.
I had contrasted the Penang state government’s liberal position with the Federal government which would act against and punish those who dare to dissent publicly.
And this is what Najib said about loyalty:
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said today (1 August 2015) that loyalty was a trait harder to find in any individual than intelligence, adding that he values the former more than the latter.
Speaking just days after his shock removal of Mr Muhyiddin Yassin from the federal Cabinet, Mr Najib said that loyalty was more important than “smart people” in order to keep the party and his leadership united.
“I will evaluate people based on their loyalty. There are a lot of smart people around but to find those who are loyal is rare,” the leader said in his speech at the Seremban UMNO division meeting here.
“But by loyalty, I don’t mean blind loyalty. We have to work together in order to make our party strong,” he added.
My own remarks:
Loyalty to what or to whom?
I believe it is more important to be loyal to the truth than to any one individual or group or party – especially if the truth is different from what the group or individual responsible would have us believe. This is especially important for a research institute or university that encourages critical thinking and analyses – which are among the building blocks of research.
The truth or critical views may at times be painful to hear but it is the only thing that will help in the formulation of policies that will help the people and society. The goal is not whether the work will tarnish or burnish the image of the university or funders or party but whether it furthers the cause of genuine research in the pursuit of truth or is in the public interest. This is especially true if the outfit is funded by federal or state funds (our money) – which means those involved have an even greater responsibility to serve the public interest.
What do you think?