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Higher Education Minister Mustapha Mohamad should explain why Biro Tatanegara was allowed into the university campuses to “brainwash” students with Barisan Nasional propaganda
(Parliment, Wednesday) : Higher Education Minister, Datuk Mustapha Mohamad should explain why Biro Tatanegara (BTN) was allowed into the university campuses to brainwash students with Barisan Nasional propaganda.
Mustapha cannot keep silent on the serious allegations that at the compulsory one-day seminar themed “Seminar Bina Negara Mahasiswa” (Building a nation of graduates) attended by over 2,000 first-year students of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) on August 26, BTN demonized anti-establishment student groups by linking them to Jewish and anti-Islamic elements posing threats to national security and sovereignty.
Among the student groups singled out for such demonisation were the Malaysian Youth and Students Democratic Movement (Dema), USM’s Chinese Language Society (USMPBT) and USM student progressive front (USMSPF).
When Mustapha became Higher Education Minister in February, he had given hope that there would be greater academic freedom among lecturers and students in the hard road back to world-class university excellence and quality, starting with the lessening of the repressive atmosphere in the university campuses giving room for independent and spontaneous student activities not tied to the apron strings of officially-sponsored organizations.
However, the most unsatisfactory handling of the recent University Putra Malaysia (UPM) scuffle by the university authorities and the Higher Education Ministry – where there is no appreciation whatsoever between right and wrong – and the “brainwashing” of first-year university students conducted by BTN indicate that no fundamental change to the draconian university regime of restriction and repression is in the works – despite all the hyperbole of review of the Universities and University Colleges Act to restore academic freedom to academicians and students in the quest of world-class university standards and excellence.
Will this be another failure of the reform pledge and commitment of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who will be marking his third year of premiership next month.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman