Hadi raps Dr M over promise to abolish UUCA

Abdul Hadi Awang speaks at a gathering of university students at a stadium in Serdang today.

SERDANG: PAS today hit out at Dr Mahathir Mohamad over his promise to repel the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) should Pakatan Harapan (PH) come to power.

Using a Malay expression, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang said Mahathir’s pledge was like “licking up one’s own vomit”.

He said at one time, students and lecturers were free to air their political opinions and take part in political activities..

“I lived in the era after the country achieved independence. There was no law then to bind lecturers and students. Political leaders could go to campuses and at that time, the government was not worried about our activities on campus,” he told a gathering of university students here today.

But Hadi said this was no longer the case in the eighties.

“We don’t know who was the prime minister at that time, who introduced a law prohibiting lecturers and students from getting involved in politics,” he said, in an apparent reference to Mahathir.

Mahathir was the education minister when the UUCA came into force in the 1970s, which among others prohibited students from becoming active in political parties. An amendment tabled by the government in 2012 lifted the ban, but was criticised by student activists as superficial.

On Mar 21, Mahathir said the Act would be abolished by PH but said it was enacted to ensure students did not neglect their studies.