A quite surprise news to some. From now on, ISDEV is nothing to do with the organisation of the Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin Best Thesis Award anymore.
One may perhaps wonder why ISDEV pulled out its involvement in the organisation of the Award. One may recalled that the Award was the brainchild of ISDEV. ISDEV members have been working so hard to establish and organise it, from the outset in 2007, under the name of ISDEV Best Thesis Award, even with a far lesser value of rewards. After the ISDEV Award attracted Yayasan Nurul Yaqeen in general and the Deputy Prime Minister YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin in particular to become co-organiser and supported it with an attractive amount of prizes (RM10,000 and RM15,000 for Master and PhD best thesis winners respectively) under the new name - Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin Best Thesis Award - in 2009, ISDEV fraternity worked harder and put all their efforts to ensure its success.
Then why, out of a sudden, ISDEV easily gave it up?
As I have told Yayasan Nurul Yaqeen's representatives - Yayasan's Board Members Tan Sri Abu Zahar Nika Ujang and Dato' Dr Ismail Ibrahim, as well as Yayasan's Director Nor Zanah Jamari - in a meeeting held at the office of the President of Senate Malaysia Tan Sri Abu Zahar Nika Ujang on Tuesday 12 April 2011, the Award was introduced mainly to honour Islam and to prove to the world that graduates undertaking researches on Islam are brilliant and having a high ability to produce high quality theses. This has been proven, Alhamdulillah, throughout the years eversince the Award was introduced.
If these two objectives were to be accomplished in a more efficient manner as is hoped by Yayasan Nurul Yaqeen in general and the Deputy Prime Minister himself in particular as was expressed by the representatives of the Yayasan during the 12 April meeting, by all means ISDEV is willing to pass the baton to Yayasan Nurul Yaqeen, for ISDEV is well aware of ISDEV's own limitation. Definitely this is not an easy sacrifice, but ISDEV firmly believe that Islam is not solely belong to ISDEV alone and ISDEV is not the only party responsible to uphold Islam. Islam belongs to all and all are responsible to uphold Islam. If one other than ISDEV and without ISDEV one could uphold Islam more effectively than ISDEV, then ISDEV would be so happy to let them going ahead with their endeavours.
Moreover, for the past two years when the Award was co-organised by ISDEV and the Yayasan Nurul Yaqeen, ISDEV graduates have won the Award, firstly during the first year for the PhD Award and secondly during the second year for the Master Award. Being a co-organiser and allowing its graduates to participate in the Award, would definitely raise the issues of objectivity and conflict of interest. However just and professional the assessment process was as was done strictly during the two previous years, avoidance of allegations is not easy. But ISDEV itself could not afford to prohibit its graduates from participating in the nomination of the Award, for ISDEV knows very well that many of them are excellent and have produced outstanding high quality theses. It is definitely a waste if they are not involved in the Award.
It is for the reason of avoiding the questions of objectivity and conflict of interest, as well as of opening the chance as much as possible to ISDEV graduates to compete for the Award, that ISDEV is willingly pulling out itself as the co-organiser of the Award.
Is is undeniably sad to release the organisation of the Award, but for the sake of Islam and graduates that are undertaking researches on Islam, ISDEV fraternity has to face the sadness with the hope that Allah SWT would provide ISDEV with other ideas that could allow ISDEV to uphold Islam further, God willing.