Keep people like Gilley out!

US academician’s provocative statements ignite fury

PETALING JAYA: Deliberate controversial and provocative statements, especially from those who disrespect community sentiments, have no place in Malaysia, say politicians and moderates alike.

This comes after US academic Bruce Gilley (pic) gave a talk at Universiti Malaya (UM) on Tuesday, in which he allegedly downplayed Malaysia’s ties with the United States.

He had also claimed that Malaysia had pushed for a “second holocaust against the Jewish people”, which has drawn massive criticism online.

Instead of apologising, Gilley then flared further uproar after he accused Malaysia of being “not a safe country to travel to currently”, in a post on X (formerly Twitter) yesterday.

Government spokesman Fahmi Fadzil expressed his dismay at Gilley for having turned a prestigious institution like UM into ground zero for such rhetoric.

“This kind of incident should never have happened in the first place, especially not at such a key institution like UM.

“UM has been the alma mater of so many Malaysian leaders and chief judges.

“This is especially bad as the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) has made his views very clear on the Palestinian issue,” Fahmi told reporters after attending the Communication Ministry’s monthly assembly in Putrajaya yesterday.

Fahmi, also the Communications Minister, added that he and other relevant government agencies would take further action after the full report on the incident from UM is released.

Other parties also expressed similar outrage, with MCA Youth information chief Neow Choo Seong calling Gilley’s comments not only arrogant but also completely insensitive to the people of our country.

“These remarks demonstrate not only a lack of sensitivity towards Malaysia’s foreign policy but also a blatant disregard for the country’s consistent stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Malaysia’s position on this issue has been consistent and unwavering as we vehemently condemn the ongoing Israeli attacks targeting the Palestinian people, which constitute a clear violation of humanitarian principles and international law.

“Individuals like Gilley who promote such misleading rhetoric have no right to enter Malaysia,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Author and moderate advocate Ferri Anugerah Makmur had similar sentiments, saying Gilley should no longer be allowed entry into the country.

“He was clearly seeking publicity by raising such a sensitive issue in our country.

“We’ve already had enough bad global publicity recently for the wrong kind of news,” he said.

He suggested future visiting foreign figures, be it for higher learning institutions or other purposes, be screened.

Malay moderate group G25 member Tawfik Ismail criticised Gilley for trying to provoke a violent uproar among the people while ignoring the views of the community.

“His deliberately controversial comments were clearly designed to provoke a more physical inflammatory response from the people.

“Fairness has to be on both sides, and he should try to understand our stance against Israel just as we don’t criticise him for his support for Israel.

“He cannot expect to come to a foreign country with the intent to insult local views and then claim victim, just as how if Malaysians travel overseas we have to respect local views and cultures,” he said.

Promote Tolerance and Prevent Violence ( founder Aizat Shamsuddin similarly blasted Gilley, calling his statements not only misleading but also potentially dangerous.

“Portraying Malaysia as supporting a second Holocaust is blatant disinformation that will strain Malaysia-US relations without justification.

“His viral remark is also not only tone-deaf but fuels local extremism by providing local far-right actors the justification to exploit racial and religious issues amidst heightened sociopolitical tensions like the Israeli-linked products boycott and KK Super Mart boycott.

“His statement risks escalating anti-Western and anti-Jewish sentiments among the far-right hardliners, a growing phenomenon in Malaysia,” he said.

In a separate post on X, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir rubbished Gilley’s allegation of an unsafe Malaysia.

“Basking in the heavenly bliss of Malaysia, untouched by unrest, threats, or bigotry. Yet, now questioning its safety? Perhaps a rethink on your judgment is overdue,” said the minister.

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