SHAH ALAM, 26 FEB: Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has stressed that the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) will be abolished within the first 100 days when the coalition successfully takes over Putrajaya.
PKR Communications Director, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said that it will be replaced with another act which gives freedom to students and academics.
He said that there are many aspects of the UUCA which is still under the limitations of the Ministry of Higher Education which prevents the main issue of academic freedom.
“We must understand that many aspects of the UUCA such as the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor, is still under the authority of the Minister of Higher Education.
“I have also attended a round table conference with several participants of Muafakat, UUCA does not have to be amended but to be abolished.
“And a special committee was set up to implement it. However, it has been more than a year, and still yet a reality,” he said at the 17th series of Wacana (discourse) Sinar titled ‘Students Political Power’ at the Karangkraf Group Auditorium here.
The discourse also featured a panel consisting of a former student activist, Tun Faizal Ismail Aziz; Political Analyst, Prof Dr Azmi Hassan; Vice President of the Malaysian Youth Council, Mumar Ghadafi Datuk Jamal and the President of the Federation of Islamic Students (Gamis), Azan Safar, as well as Prof Datuk Mohamad Abu Bakar as the moderator.
He added that as a former student, students should not attend courses by the National Civics Bureau (BTN), which is seen as providing information about government policies as well attacking the opposition.
“It is different from other government institutions, within the BTN there are also racist elements, they attack the opposition. Students, or even public servants, cannot be forced. Furthermore, BTN uses public money,” he said.
Nik also gave examples of several students who were suspended after holding a debate after inviting leaders from DAP and MCA.
“Political power in universities still restricts students, this causes constraints. It seems like students are threatened, when that happens, they get scared,” he said.
Meanwhile, Azan said even though in the event that the UUCA is amended, it should be given due attention and it should be reviewed.
“Restricted political power causes students to be ‘fatigued’. Domineering constraints in the University causes fatigue. If given freedom, they will lose their fatigue. We must remember that not all student activists are not smart. They consist of excellent students,” he said.
He added that politics is also part of academics.
“When they are forbidden to talk, education and democratic systems should be shown. It is not that we want to create ‘political conflict’ but we want political focus and arguments,” he said.
In 2011, the Court of Appeal ruled that Section 15 95) UUCA was invalid and was subsequently amended.
Elaborating, Nik said that when the case was brought to court, only then did the Federal Government realise that the act had to be amended.