Another blow to UPM’s reputation as French historian exposes more fraudulent claims by senior academician

FRENCH historian Serge Jardin has again hit out at Univerisiti Putra Malaysia’s (UPM) ‘non-historian’ academician Prof Datuk Dr Hashim Musa for repeating ad nauseam (at least since 1989) that “Melaka welcomes 2,000 ships a day!” to describe greatness of the Melaka Sultanate.

For the uninitiated, ad nauseam is used to refer to some fallacious argument that has been repeated so often that it has become annoying or sickening.

Jardin who is married to a Melakan claimed that Hashim who is currently an adjunct professor at UPM’s Institute for Mathematical Research had presented a print image “with so many ship” during a seminar but those were the Dutch fleet instead of belonging to the Portuguese who were instrumental to bring the Melaka empire to its knees in 1511 and eventually ruled the city for 130 years till 1641.

“Nobody stood up in the learned assembly to say: ‘Sorry Sir, I am afraid you are confused’. Your print is dated 1708, the ships are Dutch East Indiamen, and your so-called mosque is St Paul Church,” teased Jardin in a recent Facebook (FB) post.

“Will someone stand and be counted to stop the rot before (it’s) too late in Malaysian universities?”

Jardin was referring to a presentation by Hashim entitled “Warisan Tradisi Maritim Melayu dan Teknologi Pembuatan Kapal Besar” (Heritage of Malay Maritime Traditions and Large Ship Building Technology) which is part of the Seminar Kapal Mendam Berahi: Realiti Atau Mitos which took place in Melaka from June 19-20 last year.

His FB post was re-posted by social activist and human rights lawyer Siti Kasim who summed up deterioration in the country’s tertiary institutions as follows: “Malaysia is rotting people [sic]. It starts from our schools and universities. They have no shame in making up fables to suit their narratives. Sick!”

For the uninitiated, Jardin had in January this year had accused Hashim and fellow UPM senior lecturer at the Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication for misrepresenting facts about Malay maritime history when the image the duo used in their research paper to depict a model of Malay Jongs is in fact a Foochow Pole Junk (a type of cargo vessel) from China.

Amidst the furore and embarrassment, UPM has been forced to issue a statement. Instead of stating that it would conduct a thorough investigation to get to the root of the matter, it came as no great shock that it defended both authors by claiming that the said study had been “reviewed by experts” and that social science publications were “open to interpretation”.

Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Indonesian International Islamic University (UIII) Sharifah Munirah Alatas echoed concerns over the rot in the Malaysian higher education system as follows: – April 2, 2024

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