|@LimKitSiang has been in Malaysian politics for more than 50 years|
The two Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) academicians, who Lim Kit Siang had labelled as "kangkung professors", have hit back at the DAP adviser.
They said his comments had not only degraded the integrity of intellectuals but also reflected his immaturity on the right and freedom of academics to give their views on any issue.
UUM senior lecturer in Political and International Studies Md Shukri Shuib said based on the research and studies that they carry out, academics have the right to give their comments and analyses of current issues, including the DAP's proposal to hold local council elections in Penang.
"As academics, and also as members of the civil service, we can give our comments and views on current issues, including those involving the Barisan Nasional government's policies. Is he (Lim) afraid of being criticised by the academics and worried that what we say will have an impact on his party?
"If he had arbitrarily labelled us 'kangkung professors' in order to tarnish the image of the institutions of higher learning and academics, then he can be called an 'obsolete and senile politician' who likes to nag and is undemocratic, as well as boring because he's always highlighting outdated ideas," he told Bernama.
Shukri was commenting on the veteran DAP leader's blog posting on February 1, in which Lim described Md Shukri and Prof Dr Ahmad Martadha Mohamed as "kangkung professors”, after a Bernama report which carried the views of both the academicians on the local council polls issue.
The report had quoted them as saying that the DAP's struggle to implement local government elections was not only an attempt to turn Penang into an autonomous state, but also challenged a ruling passed by the nation's apex court and contravened the Federal Constitution.
In his blog Lim said, among other things: "With Umno’s kangkung professors running riot with their illiterate interpretation of national developments, Malaysia’s university ranking can only plunge further south without hope of restoring our former world-class university status."
Shukri said it was embarrassing when experienced and senior policians like Lim, failed to be noble and behave in a rational manner.
"He's not a suitable leader for Malaysians as he is teaching the people to belittle others," he added.
He added that the DAP should consider removing Lim as party adviser and replacing him with someone more dynamic like Senator Dr Ariffin S. M. Omar, a former university professor from Penang.
Martadha, meanwhile, said Lim did not at all touch on the Federal Court ruling that the Local Government Election Enactment passed by the Penang government in 2012 was in contravention of the Federal Constitution.
"The court's decision was based on the provisions under Section 15 of the Local Government Act 1976, which clearly prohibit local councils from having their own elections. Lim's allegations have no basis because my comments were based on the Federal Court's decision.
"The 1968 Athi Nahappan report became invalid when Section 15 of the Local Government Act 1976 came into force. The views of the former leaders and the Athi Nahappan report are immaterial now because they are overruled by the provisions under Section 15 of the Local Government Act 1976, which all local councils must adhere to," he said.