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Media Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 30th January 2010: 


Khaled – Hands off! Respect and uphold University of Malaya Vice Chancellor Ghauth Jasmon’s decision on moratorium and suspension of campus polls

Hands off! Respect and uphold the University of Malaya Vice Chancellor Ghauth Jasmon’s decision on the moratorium and suspension of University of Malaya campus polls.

This is the message all Malaysians hoping to see the restoration of academic freedom and excellence in our public universities, particularly University of Malaya, want to send to the Higher Education Minister Datuk Khaled Nordin.

Khaled has already jumped into the campus fray by questioning the judgment of the University of Malaya Vice Chancellor in suspending the campus elections and his decision to resolve the campus poll controversy, viz:

  • appointment of an IT consultant by the pro-students group to test the e-voting system – a re-election to be held if it is proven that elements of fraud or abuse exist.

  • investigate allegations that deputy vice-chancellor of student affairs (HEP) Azarae Idris misused university funds to quarantine HEP sponsored candidates at a hotel, the night before nomination.

By doing so, Khaled is acting as Umno leader and not as Higher Education Minister.

I call on Khaled to endorse the decision and judgment of Gauth Jasmon, taking into account legitimate complaints about the campus electoral process.

The campus e-voting system is most unsatisfactory and even undemocratic as the students are not given the chance to observe the whole voting process and the e-counting of votes cannot be done. In one of the faculties, the candidates only lost 3 votes to be elected but there was no avenue for a re-counting in this electronic system.

In addition, students need to log in into the voting system using their matrix number and this will cause the worried amongst the students to vote some particular candidates.

Apart from UM, there are also disturbing news about the integrity and legitimacy of the results in other university campus elections like UPM and UKM.

I condemn

  • the entering of FRU into UKM and the arrest of two students who took part in the student demonstration; and

  • the disqualification by the UPM administration of the winning status of 7 student representatives which is ridiculous and unacceptable, just because they had made some campaign statements in Facebook.

The controversies and intervention of the administration of various universities in the Campus Elections once again prove that they are not mature or professional in the management of the public universities to restore academic freedom and excellence so that they can become top-ranking universities recognized worldwide as leading institutions of higher learning.

*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor



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