University students can only support the government

..or so I think that this is what the minister means:

KOTA KINABALU: Disciplinary action will be taken against university students participating in illegal rallies and street demonstrations.

Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Idris Haron said here yesterday that a directive under the University and University Colleges Act had been issued to university students to not participate in any illegal rally.

The above was taken from the StarOnline here, and that was the entire article. No explanation whatsoever. I mean, even if the minister didn’t have anything else to add, surely the reporters could help us out a bit in finding out exactly under which part of the UUCA that the directive could have been issued. Or maybe even a copy of the directive itself could have been helpful.

But no, I think “investigative journalism” in Malaysia has long since disappeared.

I apologise, I digress.

But since they couldn’t be bothered (or perhaps ran out of time? Or perhaps never occurred to them? I hand to them the benefit of the doubt), I Google Searched for the UUCA. For anyone interested in the 59-page Act, it can be found in pdf format here.

Most of it to me was just administration jargon, about what the universities can and cannot do, what they can and cannot buy, etc.

My attention is drawn to what the students CANNOT do:

(1) No person, while he is a student of the University, shall be a member of, or shall in any manner associate with, any society, political party, trade union or any other organization, body or group of persons whatsoever, whether or not it is established under any law, whether it is in the University or outside the University, and whether it is in Malaysia or outside Malaysia, except as may be provided by or under the Constitution, or except as may be approved in advance in writing by the Vice-Chancellor.

(2) No organization, body or group of students of the University, whether established by, under or in accordance with the Constitution, or otherwise, shall have any affiliation, association or other dealing whatsoever with any society, political party, trade union or any other organization, body or group of persons whatsoever, whether or not it is established under any law, whether it is in the University or outside the University, and whether it is in Malaysia or outside Malaysia, except as may be provided by or under the Constitution, or except as may be approved in advance in writing by the Vice-Chancellor.

(3) No person, while he is a student of the University, shall express or do anything which may be construed as expressing support, sympathy or opposition to any political party or trade union or as expressing support or sympathy with any unlawful organization, body or group of persons.

(4) No organization, body or group of students of the University which is established by, under or in accordance with the Constitution, or any other organization, body or group of students of the University, shall express or do anything which may be construed as expressing support, sympathy or opposition to any political party or trade union or as expressing support or sympathy with any unlawful organization, body or group of persons.

(5) Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with subsection (1), (2), (3) or (4) shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding one thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.

Quite frankly, I don’t see the reasoning behind wanting to keep students away from associations or societies or what have you. Quite frankly, I think that it should be made part of a student’s life.

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that students thrive for healthy debates and discussions in things and issues that they are passionate about. And if it so happens that I’m interested in politics, why should I be stopped from joining, or even expressing my support, one way or the other?

Healthy discussion is what enables me to grow. I believe I have grown much by willingly taking a stand, and by willingly putting myself out there, to speak for what I believe, and to learn from my mistakes.

This part of the Act seems to me as if though to the Education Ministry, a student’s life is only about studies, and nothing else. Co-curricular activities only encompass games and sports, and nothing else. Politically inclined students cannot be involved in any political activity. Crazy.

I don’t agree with this part of the Act. I think it is damaging to an individual’s life. I think it enables “certain parties/people” to have control over what these students grow up to be. I think it takes away an important part of learning and growing up. I think it inhibits character. That’s what I think.

And that thing about the directive to university students to not attend illegal rallies, I have to say that I’m very disappointed that it needed to come to this. Students are students. They are NOT supposed to need to pledge their loyalty to the government, like what civil servants need to do.

And besides, it was an anti-fuel price hike rally. Are students not allowed to voice their protest and concern over the increasing difficulty for them to make a living?


3 Comments on “University students can only support the government”

  1. ibat says:

    “the University and University Colleges Act had been issued to university students to not participate in any illegal rally.”

    the statement says not to take part in any illegal rally. Can they take part in a legal one? I realise that it is difficult to obtain permits for rally (to legalise one) especially if it is for protesting against the government or its policies. I don’t like this reality too! I hope these students who are our future leaders will see that permits for rallies are not as difficult to obtain as they are now when they lead the country for their generation.

    We must teach our students to be law abiding. It a rally has no permit, it is illegal. The question of whether a permit should or should not have been granted is a separate issue altogether. Maybe one day our future generation would also legalise sodomy, that will save us some commotion, wouldn’t it?
    ___________
    I agree that we should all be law-abiding. But to be issued directives to do so seems a little too dictative for me. Surely students should be given the responsibility to practice their wisdom of making decisions?

  2. ibat says:

    “Surely students should be given the responsibility to practice their wisdom of making decisions?” .. agreed, but not all students (or professionals for that matter) can make decisions RESPONSIBLY and prepared to be ACCOUNTABLE for their decisions. In the case of to obey or not to obey the law, its a no brainer – YOU OBEY!! A law in itself is dictative.

    Could you tell me if any student rally had been held legally (i.e. permit granted) when the message is pro BN? If so, that would be breaking the law too as the Act prohibits a student to EXPRESS support of any political party.
    ___________
    Not sure if there has been any. But double standards is not something new.


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