KUALA LUMPUR - Academicians are facing limits to a point where it is affecting the quality of education in local universities, says retiring Court of Appeal judge Justice Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof (pic).
Mohamad Ariff, a former lecturer in Universiti Malaya's Law Faculty, said government policy was a factor in determining a good university, but the Universities and Universities Colleges Act (UUCA) did not allow lecturers to express themselves.
Mohamad Ariff, 66, had on Jan 21 retired from the Bench after reaching the mandatory retirement age.
Speaking to reporters about his retirement, Mohamad Ariff declined to comment about UM law lecturer Prof Dr Azmi Sharom's sedition case, on account that it was an ongoing legal matter.
Dr Azmi, 45, had claimed trial on Sept 2 last year to making seditious comments in an article titled "Take Perak crisis route for speedy end to Selangor impasse, Pakatan told".
However, speaking in his capacity as a former lecturer from the same faculty, Mohamad Ariff said that while all countries have limits on expression, he thinks things have gone too far in regards to the UUCA.
"Universities are all talk, it's not like they have armies or cells, it's only a matter of academic discussion," he pointed out.
The Kedah native had been a lecturer at UM between 1975 and 1985.
"When I came back (from London, where he studied), I had the misfortune of having a masters degree," he joked, adding that as a government scholar with a masters, he was asked to be lecturer at UM.
"When I first entered UM, the atmosphere was electric. People were free to think and to learn."
The former lecturer noted that in the 1970s, politicians, non-Government associations and students were allowed to organise talks, which made up an essential aspect of the student's education.
Mohamad Ariff was appointed as a Judicial Commissioner to the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Sept 15, 2008, confirmed as a judge Oct 14, 2009 and elevated to the Court of Appeal on Sept 9, 2012.
Before serving as a judge, Mohamad Ariff had lectured for 11 years, practised as a lawyer for 22 years and also helped form legal frameworks for the Securities Commission and the Bursa.