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Students brainwashed into political apathy?

 | October 13, 2017

Activist Anis Syafiqah blames indoctrination, underexposure and fear for youth disinterest in politics.

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PETALING JAYA: A student activist has attributed Malaysian youths’ disinterest in politics to indoctrination, underexposure and a culture of fear.

Speaking to FMT, Anis Syafiqah Md Yusof said school textbooks were filled with the achievements of one political party only and they would ignore views that had even a hint of opposing the official narrative.

Likewise, she said, students at public universities would hear only one side of political debates.

Among those who had become aware of the political realities from their own reading or contact with activists, she added, many were fearful of the consequences of revealing that they had such awareness.

“They fear expulsion or suspension from university,” she told FMT.

Anis was responding to a statement made recently by Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak regarding the political passivity of youths, as reported in the findings of a Merdeka Center survey.

Salleh said youths’ perception of politics needed to be corrected to prevent them from remaining apathetic.

According to the survey report, one of the reasons for such apathy was that the respondents doubted the sincerity of politicians. This was related to their observation that there were internal conflicts in political parties.

However, Anis said this was a minor reason.

She insisted that the major reasons were lack of exposure, fear and indoctrination.

She said it was difficult for students these days to gain exposure to opinions that are different from the official narrative, unlike in the 1970s, when they could freely organise talks and debates.

At Universiti Malaya this year, she said, there were closed-door talks given on 1MDB by its chief executive, Arul Kanda Kandasamy. However, students were not allowed to record the talks.

Such talks and similar events represented the more obvious method of indoctrination, she said.

Subtle indoctrination came in the form of giving certain advantages to students who were clearly pro-government, she alleged.


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