Prof Khoo Kay Kim is Malaysian news media’s favourite academic authority, for his availability and his readiness to be quoted. On almost anything, but preferably if it involves things that happened a few years ago, which people have forgotten or are too lazy to look up.
When Malaysian media need a dial-an-expert on anything, or a reporter needs a quote from someone sounding like an authority on the subject, a God-like figure, out comes Prof Khoo, retired history prof at the University of Malaya. He’s a professor what, must be an expert isn’t it? That’s the
logic …err… thinking …err… method behind the media madness.
Want to knock down someone about » communists? Call Prof Khoo.
Someone said something about » constitutional law? Phone Prof Khoo.
Prof Khoo to the media spinners’ rescue
» New school systems? Call Prof Khoo. » Chicken rice? Prof Khoo. » Floods? Prof Khoo. » Admissions to ITM? Call Prof Khoo. » National development? Ring Prof Khoo. » State government jobs? Phone Prof Khoo. » Stadium security? Ask Prof Khoo. » Racial politics? See Prof Khoo. » Essay writing? Get Prof Khoo.
You could almost say that Prof Khoo is the media’s academic whore.
But respected policy analyst Dr Lim Teck Ghee views Prof Khoo in a more sinister light.
Teck Ghee says Prof Khoo is a collaborator in media lynchings.
Writing today at his Centre for Policy Initiatives, Dr Lim makes a slashing critique of the NST’s coverage of the Mat Sabu affair — where the PAS deputy president is supposed to have glorified the Malayan communists as heroes of independence and ignoring the killings of the Emergency.
He points out how the media call on “court academicians … to provide justification for their public lynching” (of opposition politicians usually). And Prof Khoo is often the main figure used.
His analysis, in part:
What is noticeable about the NST media coverage is not only the way the paper has ignored the real scholars [but] trot out what appear to be court academicians in the guise of Malaysian academic firepower to provide intellectual justification for their public lynching exercise.
One such academician, Prof. Emeritus Khoo Kay Kim – who is prominently featured in the NST and other government controlled media – should know better.
Prof. Khoo’s field of specialization is not the Malayan Communist Party or Chin Peng or recent Malayan political history.
Although his PhD was on the topic ‘The Beginnings of Political Extremism in Malaya 1915-1935’, it does not cover the period of the 1940s and 1950s when the struggle for independence took place in earnest and during which time the MCP underwent various metamorphosis and change in ideological direction in its objective to free Malaya from the colonial yoke of the British.
[If] Prof. Khoo was in haste, he could at least have relied on scholars that have done more authoritative work on the MCP and through their studies provided an academic and more truthful historical context and explanation for the Bukit Kepong incident and the communist fighters.
… Not only has he dismissed Mat Sabu’s account without checking … but he has diverted the issue away [from] who were Malaya’s freedom fighters…
Prof. Khoo is no academic innocent or virgin when it comes to press coverage. He must know that the NST has its knives out for Mat Sabu and [others who] stand in the way of UMNO’s agenda. …the pursuit of academic facts and intellectual truth is the furthest away from being a concern or priority of the NST.
In short, Dr Lim says the media is selling intellectual dishonesty — and Prof Khoo is party to it. A collaborator.
“Professor Emeritus” just means, in plain English, Retired Professor. But “emeritus” sounds more grand and more godlike.