All events with US academician Bruce Gilley ordered to be cancelled, says Zambry

PETALING JAYA: All programmes and activities scheduled to involve US academic Bruce Gilley have been ordered to be cancelled by Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir.

Universiti Malaya (UM), which had a talk by Gilley on Tuesday (April 23), was also ordered to investigate and report on the details to the ministry.

In a statement by the ministry, it said it took note and takes the issue involving a foreign speaker issuing statements that are seen to provoke controversy and disrespect sentiments of the community seriously.

"Following that, any scheduled programs and activities attended by the speaker have been directed to be cancelled immediately.

"UM has been asked to investigate this matter and report further details immediately," it said.

Zambry, in the statement, also reminded all agencies under the higher education ministry to be alert and conduct background checks before inviting them to an event, and all decisions must take into account sensitivities, and align with the government’s policies and stance.

"Although institutions of higher education are given autonomy to decide on intellectual programmes, it does not mean they have complete freedom to ignore the sensitivities of Malaysia’s majority," he said.

On Tuesday, Gilley, who is a political science professor from Portland State University, allegedly downplayed Malaysia's ties with the US and was criticised on social media after he purportedly claimed that Malaysia had pushed for a "second holocaust against the Jewish people" during a talk in UM.

In his talk titled "Will Malaysia Become an Active Middle Power" at the university, he was quoted saying "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."

Explaining the matter on X, formerly known as Twitter, Gilley said he had removed the post containing the quote taken from his keynote address for the safety and well-being of his colleagues at UM, whose leadership has responded to the student outcry.

He added that the quote from his keynote address reflects on his views alone and regrets the harms that he had caused to his academic colleagues.

Malaysia, Which has no diplomatic ties with Israel, has repeatedly condemned the country for its numerous attacks on Palestine, including the current war in Gaza which had seen more than 34,000 Palestinians killed and 77,000 wounded since October last year.

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