Government to get wish list of reforms from students

The students want university autonomy and public participation in policy making. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: Student activists are preparing a wish list of reforms for the government’s consideration.

“We hope to be able to present the list soon after our final exams end,” Anis Syafiqah Md Yusof of Universiti Malaya told FMT.

Anis Syafiqah

Final examinations at most local universities will end soon after Hari Raya.

Anis said politically active students, as well as some former students, had recently met to brainstorm for the list. Among those present was Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia student Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi.

Anis and Asheeq were prominently involved in the #Tangkap MO1 rally in Kuala Lumpur last August.

The rally was organised by a coalition of student and youth groups calling for the arrest of the person named “MO1” in the US Department of Justice’s civil suit linked to state fund 1MDB. MO1 is the abbreviation used in the suit for Malaysian Official Number 1.

According to Anis, one of the focal points of the brainstorming session was a search for alternatives to the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) which, among others, prohibits students from showing support to any political group.

She said the meeting also discussed university autonomy and public involvement in policy making.

“Most of the students seemed keen on seeking university autonomy,” she said. “They also want to participate in discussions relevant to the formulation of policies once the UUCA is abolished.”

In December 2016, at a forum in which Anis was a participant, Dr Mahathir Mohamad defended his decision to amend the UUCA during his previous term as prime minister. He said the amendment, which required students to get their universities’ approval before holding protest demonstrations, was to ensure that they would focus on their studies.

On March 21, Mahathir made an election promise that a government formed by Pakatan Harapan would repeal the act, but remarked again that it was enacted to ensure students did not neglect their studies.