Could unbridled politics reduce the number of Malay students crossing the finishing line?
KUALA LUMPR: A student leader has come forward to ask if anyone can guarantee that universities and institutions of higher learning will not be turned into political arenas or headquarters of party politics if some provisions in the University and University Colleges Act (AUKU - Akta Universiti dan Kolej Universiti) are abolished.
Muhammad Idzuan Jamaluddin wrote an interesting letter that posed the above question and expressed concern that the move to abolish some provisions of the AUKU if not the whole act will jeopardise the "ecosystem" of the nation's institutions of higher learnings.
His letter was published in whole in the Empayar Pemuda blog.
Idzuan said he hoped that the letter will draw the attention of relevant parties to re-assess AUKU to ensure that students especially Malays would not be the victims if the Act or some of its provisions were scrapped.
under the abolishment plan.
Following is the letter written by Idzuan:
"A UNIVERSITY is an ecosystem that places a lot of importance on academia and becomes a storehouse of knowledge in the development of the country and society.
A university is also a storehouse of knowledge through which society can acquire as much knowledge as possible. These days we often hear about the issue of certain quarters wanting to make changes that politicise academia in this country.
I feel compelled to share my views as a representative of students of Universiti Sains Malaysia in 2011/2012.
The ecosystem of a university is an important component in the development of students, which ultimately reflects the quality of that university. I’m quite intrigued by the words of USM Vice-Chancellor Prof. Datuk Omar Osman, who said the ecosystem within a university needs to be perfect to maintain harmony and the development of the university. There are two important components in an institution of higher learning: the students and the university administration.
These two components are crucial to the development of a university. If external forces try to cause one of these components to fail, the only possible result will be major problems. Last year, the topic of students engaging in politics was hotly debated.
‘Students engaging in politics’ refers mostly to students who are involved with political parties. According to Section 15(1) of the University and University Colleges Act (Akta University Kolej Universiti – AUKU), students cannot join political parties, but Section 15(4) states that students can join political parties with the approval of the Vice-Chancellor.
I don’t have any problem with 15(1) and 15(4) but the big question is, who can guarantee that institutions of higher learning will not be used by any political parties as headquarters and political arenas if 15(1) and 15(4) are abolished?
Who gives this guarantee? The Vice-Chancellor? BN politicians? The leader of the opposition? Who? There isn’t anyone who can provide a guarantee that political parties won’t create any disturbances on campuses.
Is it at all possible that if AUKU or even just Section 15(1) or 15(4) is abolished, campuses will remain as peaceful as they are now?
Every night there would be political speeches, and we know the people giving those speeches would heap scorn and abuse upon their opponents.
Student life, which normally involves having discussions in groups, practicing for dance performances, and going out for coffee with friends, would be disrupted because of external politics that places more importance on the agendas of political parties than on students’ development.
Hence, I hope the authorities concerned will review from the beginning the opinion that certain sections of AUKU should be abolished. I don’t want the next generation to be affected as academia is politicized.
Allow us as students to build our knowledge with peace, tranquility and without challenges to our ascent to the ivory tower.
In any case, if we desire to attain the status of a developed country, it’s not disunity that should be stressed but rather cooperation."
MUHAMMAD IDZUAN JAMALLUDIN,
Student Council President 2011/12,
Universiti Sains Malaysia.
The original post (in Bahasa Malaysia) can be found at EMPAYAR PEMUDA.