Oxford. City of dreaming spires or of greedy and ignorant academics? The evidence this week leans to the latter. The University, having accepted about thirteen million pounds from Malaysia to pay for its new “Centre for Islamic Studies” is now preparing to receive the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, representing the giver of so many millions.
Of course there is nothing new about Oxford taking money from donors. It happens all the time. But those holding out their hands for this latest manna ought perhaps to be holding their noses instead. For this money is a dictator’s grant from a state leader who has at the same time axed education opportunities for his own students particularly for studies abroad in places like the UK (too many dangerous free ideas being picked up).
They might also be asking themselves why this so generous donor is not coming in person to receive the thanks and praises of the University, but is sending his Deputy in his place.
The answer is that he dare not show his face in the United Kingdom for fear of arrest. The US Department of Justice has already published a full account of his theft of billions of dollars from the Malaysian state development fund 1MDB, and made it plain that the thief was the Prime Minister himself. So these days Najib restricts his travel to countries that don’t worry about mega crime. Such as the PRC with which he has recently concluded yet another criminal deal.
In the present day climate of Academia it is probably futile to expect or hope that Universities will refrain from accepting stolen money, or indeed honouring the givers. It is particularly sad that Oxford should lead the way in doing so. Those whose connection to the University extends to a time when it was a leading institution, recently the victor in a war against injustice and religious and racial intolerance will be saddened by this latest instance of bending the knee, not only to Mammon, but also to criminal Mammon.
The University Senate, which presumably approved acceptance of this money should recall a saying from Ancient Greece, to which academia owes so much. “Those whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make mad
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