Saifuddin said academic freedom equates to freedom from political interference (Pic by Hussein Shaharuddin)
KUALA LUMPUR: Academic freedom equates to freedom from non-partisan political interference in learning institutions, the Higher Education Deputy Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said.
Saifuddin who has been quite vocal on students rights and academic freedom told The Mole: “ To my knowledge, part of academic freedom also means freedom from any influence including politics.''
"Academic freedom is a celebrated principle in universities," he added.
Asked to comment on students' plan to be involved in the ‘Free Anwar Campaign' on Jan 9 at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, Saifuddin said: “If any group of students want to participate in the demonstration, it is their right.’’
However he personally disagreed with the campaign as he believed that one should respect and follow the country's judiciary.
The Temerloh MP also said it is up to the society to judge on the actions taken by students who will be involved in the campaign.
The ‘Free Anwar’ demonstration is planned to coincide with the day when the High Court is expected to deliver its judgement on opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy case.
The demonstration is seen to be politically motivated with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) masterminding it and much effort is being used to place students as front liners.
Before this the Solidarity Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM) said they will not be involved in the Jan 9 after a blog posting highlighted brochures (Free Anwar Campaign 901) had been distributed to a few local universities calling on students to be a part of the rally.