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Call on Shafie to suspend all university disciplinary proceedings against students in connection with the recent campus student elections pending review of the UUCA
Such a suspension of all university disciplinary proceedings against university students is vital so as to establish the bona fides of an open, independent and credible review of the 34-year-old UUCA to restore academic freedom and university autonomy to recreate the conditions for Malaysian universities to attain world-class status.
There can be no public confidence, whether by the students, academicians, MPs or the civil society, that the UUCA review would be meaningful, thorough and wide-ranging if at the same time, the various university student departments are conducting a witch-hunt against students for their protests against the unfair conduct of the recent campus student elections.
As an example, a second-year Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) student, Lim Sook Swan, is facing disciplinary action for allegedly being involved in campaigning against the irregularities and blemishes of the campus’ student elections.
Her two charges are “instigating” students to boycott campus election on Sept 29 and for being involved in an assembly in front of the National Mosque on Oct 7 which later marched to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) office to submit a memorandum on the campus election.
Lim, 21, from the modern languages and communications faculty, received the show-cause letter dated Oct 17 signed by UPM deputy vice-chancellor (Student Affairs Department) Prof Dr Azali Mohamed who gave her less than 24-hour notice to turn up for her disciplinary proceeding.
I understand that the university will be taking action against more “anti-establishment” students, including those who had participated at a gathering outside Parliament on Sept 21 to call for a free and fair campus elections.
Shafie had announced a review of
UUCA before the end of his winding-up speech after I had
expressed disappointment that despite his talk
about turning Malaysia into an international hub for education with the
capability to attract foreign students to Malaysia to pursue higher studies,
he had failed to address the two most important aspects to ensure university
excellence, viz. students and academic staff of distinction.
He made the appeal: “Bagi saya chance. Baru setahun saya menjadi Menteri, ya. Bagi saya chance.”
If the university authorities are allowed to continue their UUCA witch-hunt against students in connection with the protests against the recent campus student elections, then the UUCA review announced by Shafie in Parliament on Wednesday would have lost all meaning and purpose, and I myself would withdraw my support.
I would seek a meeting with Shafie next week before I decide on whether to withdraw the support which I had publicly given to the Higher Education Minister in Parliament on Wednesday.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman