PETALING JAYA: A public university has been told to explain a “voluntary patriotism” event allegedly made compulsory to a select group of students today, especially since it will be held at the same time and venue as the Umno 71st anniversary celebration in Kuala Lumpur.
PKR Youth deputy chief Dr Afif Bahardin said based on a WhatsApp message sent to him by a concerned parent, a circular was issued by Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Shah Alam for the students to attend the event at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.
According to the message, the co-curriculum students are to gather at the UiTM field to depart at 10am and students from the uniformed bodies in the first semester are to depart at 2pm.
He said if the message was indeed true, UiTM must explain why the students were being “forced to go” for the event, when the event was clearly “voluntary” and might be political in nature.
Afif questioned the need for the university to place the event as a high priority, to the extent of having relief letters produced for those who have to skip lectures to make it for the event.
He said the event had nothing do with volunteerism as per the WhatsApp message, adding that it could be part of Umno’s plan to manipulate the attendance for its own anniversary celebration tonight.
“How much is UiTM spending to transport the students and staff to the event, food, clothes and other miscellaneous costs.
“Will the funds for this event be paid by Umno or UiTM?” he asked.
FMT has contacted UiTM’s public relations department and is waiting for their response.