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If Mustapha had watched the videoclip of UPM student mob on Thursday, why did he announce a committee of inquiry only on Saturday after I had emailed him the videoclip?


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya
, Sunday) Higher Education Minister, Datuk Mustapha Mohamed announced yesterday that Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) has been directed to set up a committee “to look into the fracas between two groups of undergraduates” at UPM.


Mustapha said he watched the videoclip of the incident on Thursday. He said it was a breach of discipline that should not have occurred and that he had contacted UPM’s management twice for clarification.


I have a question for Mustapha – if he had watched the videoclip of the disgraceful  UPM incident  on Thursday, why he only  announced a committee of inquiry only on Saturday after I had emailed him the videoclip urging him to stop condoning the indefensible with his continued silence and failure to condemn student indiscipline and mob rule?


Furthermore, why had he been a party to  very different responses on Friday – which was the farce orchestrated by the UPM Vice Chancellor  of the “shake-hand and make-up” among UPM student representatives  who were not victims of the UPM student gangsterism on Monday?


It was clear that on Friday, the UPM Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellors had no idea whatsoever that there would be a committee of inquiry, but their present knowledge that there would be a committee of inquiry has been backdated to Friday – after I had emailed the videoclip of the disgraceful UPM incident to the Higher Education Minister yesterday.


If truth and facts are so elastic and slippery, whether in the hands of the Higher Education Minister or the UPM authorities,  this does not  bode well either for integrity or excellence in our institutions of higher learning.


I am in fact upset by Mustapha’s comments yesterday.  He said the committee of inquiry will be asked to recommend steps or action to be taken against any party found to have gone against the university’s rules on discipline – a form of language which seems aimed to punish the seven members of the Student Progressive Front (SPF) who are victims of the UPM culture of student gangsterism, instead of against the UPM student leaders and students guilty of the mob rule.


Mustapha should realize that if this total disregard of right and wrong turns out to be the final scenario,  with the victims punished while the guilty let off free or lightly, it will not only bring down the weight of national and international censure on the UPM authorities but also on him as the Higher Education Minister.


If Mustapha had really seen the video, he should know what is right and wrong. It is all the more regrettable and deplorable that he has chosen not to condemn the rowdy and gangsterish UPM student mob rule, as if he himself is looking for reasons to rationalize and justify such student indiscipline and gangsterism.


Have we reached a stage where t intellectual, moral and political leadership is so lacking in the government political leadership  that Cabinet Ministers, especially the Higher Education Minister, dare not condemn a clear and blatant case of student gangsterism as happened in UPM on Monday?



*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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