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Amendments to UUCA: Nothing but a farce

September 8, 2017

Students are still being punished for their involvement in politics unless they support the ruling party, writer says.

COMMENT

aukuBy Soeraya Abdullah

Yes, you are reading it right.

The amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA), better known as AUKU, which took place in 2012, were nothing more than a farce. The “progressive” element which replaced the old version of Section 15 is not progressive at all.

Why?

Students are still subject to punishment by the university if they are actively involved in politics. Or should I say… if they are actively involved in politics by supporting opposition parties.

It is a matter of fact that those who support and portray themselves as supporters of the ruling party will be exempted from any punishment – let’s call them the lucky group.

They are not seen as posing danger to the university or giving the university a bad name. Only those who support the opposition are considered as dangerous students – their minds have been poisoned by the bad guys and the university’s image has been dirtied by their involvement in politics.

Consequently, only one group of students will be punished by the university while the lucky group will escape punishment. Why will the lucky group escape punishment, you might ask. The answer is simple: Because they support the ruling party.

There is no need to list down the students who were punished because of their participation in politics after the amendments took place. The fact is, we, the students, are still subject to rules imposed by the university under which we can be punished on the basis of damaging the university’s image.

Ironically, the lucky group will not face the consequences of participating in politics. How lucky they are!

Now, what will the environment of our students be in the future?

Are we going to cultivate an environment of selective punishment in our higher education system?

Are we going to instil fear in our students’ minds so that they keep supporting one party for the rest of their lives?

The way I see it, there’s no hope that the environment will be changed as long as the ruling party who introduced the act and later amended it (which is a farce) stays in power.

But is there any hope of change if Pakatan Harapan becomes the ruling party? The last time I read the news, the chairman of the opposition coalition was the one who introduced the act during his tenure as education minister four decades ago.

Hence, is it possible for the opposition coalition to take this matter seriously by including it in their manifesto for the next general election?

And for us students, what’s the game plan for them to take us seriously?

Soeraya Abdullah is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

 


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