UCSI University’s School of Architecture and Built Environment Professor Dr Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi was recently selected as one of three winners of the 7th Civil Society Award 2019 by the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.
He received the award mainly as a result of two of his books entitled ‘Not The Islam I Know’ and ‘Rethinking Malaysia – Politics, Extremism and Education’. Professor Tajuddin is a proponent of getting communities together and strongly believes that Malaysians should be awarded for fighting for the civil rights of the people.
In 2019 alone, Professor Tajuddin has written for six major Malaysian media and is cited for “daring to speak against religious extremism”, even against Malays in terms of corruption. He says that derogatory names and terms should not be used according to Prophet Muhammad.
“I am personally pleased to receive the award. I believe that research is important in academia to solve major problems and not for self-glorification. Research should be conducted to propagate knowledge and action,” he said.
In his books, Professor Tajuddin addresses irresponsible politicians and the ignorant mass. Moreover, he asserts that the media is a platform for change in a democratic society. Most importantly, he says that one should change himself or herself before attempting to change others and that academics should be able to understand pertinent issues that deal with a moderate and progressive Islam.
Tajuddin strongly opposes the narrow perspective of Islamic framework.
“We need to come out of our shells and seminar halls and be enlightened and awakened individuals. We need to question the fabric of society for the betterment of society itself,” he said.
“As far as UCSI University is concerned, there must be the freedom to engage in nation-building issues. Measurements such as KPIs of lecturers should incorporate new ones which are more impactful to society,” he remarked.
In his opinion there should be more forums, more books and more media involvement. Writing should be more impactful and redefined. Academics should be trained to be critical and clear. Malaysians, as a whole, should be able to adopt, adapt and accommodate.
Undoubtedly, Professor Tajuddin has made his mark in academia as well as civil society in his somewhat controversial writings including the popular “A Meaningless Merdeka” which addresses the state of affairs in the nation and the questioning of freedom itself.
He is recognised as an open-minded Malay Muslim elite that can support structural reforms of society in new era Malaysia.