The National Council of Professors representing more than 3,000 senior academics nationwide has distanced itself from a statement by a group calling itself "Malay professors", declaring support for Anwar Ibrahim in what is seen as an effort to boost the PKR chief's rating among Malay voters ahead of the Nov 19 polls.
In a statement, the council, which is also made up of more than 7,000 associate professors and 200 industry experts, said many among the group were already retired, adding that some were also part of "certain movements".
"(As such), they cannot use the title 'professor' unless they are re-appointed as emeritus professors," the council's president Raduan Che Rose said.
Earlier, a group of individuals calling themselves G70 had convened a media conference in Petaling Jaya to issue a declaration of support for Anwar as prime minister.
The declaration sighted by MalaysiaNow showed the names of some who have been close friends with the PKR chief from his days in Abim, or the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia, as well as lecturers from the International Islamic University where Anwar was president before his removal in the wake of his dismissal from the government in 1998.
Among them was Osman Bakar, a long-time friend of Anwar who is attached to the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation or Istac, an organisation closely linked to the PKR president, and Muhammad Nor Manuty, a PKR leader and former senator.
"After due consideration of the prime ministerial candidates, we are of the opinion that Anwar Ibrahim is the only figure with the authority, experience and integrity to lead a pluralistic society based on Islam as the federal religion, as well as to restore the country's reputation in the eyes of the world," said the declaration.
It followed a series of surveys indicating that Anwar's Pakatan Harapan still suffered from a trust deficit among the majority of Malay voters.
A new survey conducted by global pollster YouGov meanwhile placed Perikatan Nasional's Muhyiddin Yassin as the most popular among four prime ministerial candidates, the others being Anwar, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and former leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The latest survey echoed another poll carried out by Universiti Utara Malaysia, which showed Muhyiddin chosen as the most trusted leader for the top post.