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UPM Vice Chancellor Nik Mustapha should publicly apologize for the baseless charge that student activist Yee Yang Yang had pornographic material in his laptop and ensure free and fair student campus elections so as not to attract the epithet of Mat Rempit University
(Parliament, Wednesday) : Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Vice Chancellor Nik Mustapha should publicly apologize for the baseless charge that student activist Yee Yang Yang had pornographic material in his laptop and ensure free and fair student campus elections so as not to attract for the UPM the epithet of Mat Rempit University.
I commend the UPM for owning up to “flaws” in the Mat Rempit-action by the UPM security unit in its high-handed arrogance in confiscating Yee’s laptop, mobile phone, MP3 player and 10 other items valued at RM6, 000 during a spot check of his hostel room but what is unpardonable and inexcusable is the lie that Yee had pornographic material in his laptop.
I do not believe that this lie was concocted by the Vice Chancellor but he would have relied on it based on a report by the security unit, which had no password to access Yee’s notebook.
I do not call for Nik Mustapha’s resignation as UPM Vice Chancellor although this is a grave mistake but he should at least publicly apologize for his error and misjudgment in running a university administration where his departmental heads and officers are not aware of the importance of truth and integrity. In the process, they have brought UPM into public shame and disrepute.
Apart from his public apology to Yee for the lie about pornographic material in the notebook, he must take disciplinary action against the security personnel for their Mat Rempit behavior against UPM students, whether anti or pro-establishment, including expulsion of the security officer who had embarrassed him and UPM publicly in telling the lie against Yee.
With the campus student elections on Oct 2 and nomination today, Nik Mustapha should take special pains to ensure that UPM will be an exemplary university where student elections are held in a free and fair manner so that the epithet of Mat Rempit University will not stick to UPM under his Vice Chancellorship.
In this connection, I call on the Higher Education Minister, Datuk Mustapha Mohamed to take the first bold step to give meaning and substance to the National Higher Education Action Plan 2007-2010 to start the long journey to make Malaysia a world leader in higher education by sending a clear message to all Vice Chancellors to hold free and fair campus elections in public universities and to respect and accept the election results.
Mustapha should de-politicize campus student elections by publicly declaring that as Higher Education Minister, he would not be partisan and would not take sides with any candidate or group of candidates contesting in the campus polls, and that he would not mind and would fully accept the verdict of the campus elections regardless of who wins or loses, so long as the campus elections are held in a free and fair manner.
He should announce a “hands-off” policy to ensure a vibrant, critical and creative student campus and scrap the secret agenda of Vice Chancellors and deputies to ensure victory of the compliant “pro-establishment” student groups.
One important reason why Malaysian public universities had been on a downward plunge as centre of academic excellence is because it has been drummed into the Vice Chancellors and their deputies that it is more important for their career future that they deliver campus elections to pro-establishment student groups rather than ensuring that the universities achieve international recognition as world-class universities as receiving top rankings in world tables, such as the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) and the Shanghai Jiao Tong University annual listing of top world universities.
Let the 2007 public university student elections be the first which is fully de-politicized where students are allowed to elect, in a free and fair manner, the student leaders they want without any ulterior agenda from any political party to stack university student representative councils with their nominees.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman