SHAH ALAM, 20 FEB: The Umno-BN Government’s act to stop an election forum organised by the University of Malaya (UM) proves that the highly publicised ‘transformation’ slogan is merely an empty rhetoric.
According to PKR Communications Director, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, it was reported that UM was pressed to cancel the forum which had Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and BN politicians on its panel.
“UMCEDEL Director, Mohammad Redzuan Othman informed that he received an SMS asking him to cancel the programme, and the orders came from the Prime Minister’s (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) Office and the Ministry of Higher Education (KPT),” Nik Nazmi said in a media statement.
Yesterday, the UM Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMCEDEL) organised a forum to discuss whether Pakatan or BN will win in the upcoming General Election (GE-13).
The forum was originally scheduled to feature PKR Vice-President, Nurul Izzah Anwar, PAS Vice-President, Datuk Husam Musa as well as the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and Hulu Selangor Member of Parliament, P Kamalanathan.
“Ironically, Saifuddin Abdullah himself if the Deputy Minister of Higher Education who was appointed by the Prime Minister.
“Najib as the Prime Minister of ‘transformation’ who also appointed Saifuddin for the position should come up with answers to the incident which will again be a blow to academic freedom at universities,” added Nik Nazmi who is also the Seri Setia Assemblyman.
Following the pressure received, the organisers were forced to replace the panel with academics comprising of UMCEDEL researchers, Shaharuddin Badaruddin dan Thock Ker Pong as well as Professor Datuk Mohammad Abu Bakar.
However, Nurul Izzah still attended the forum as a member of the audience and was given the opportunity to go up on stage during the question and answer session, after a student asked a question about the ability of PR to govern.