Maszlee: Varsity students can soon set up political clubs

Education Minister Maszlee Malik says university students will be given greater freedom of speech.

KUALA LUMPUR: University students can set up political clubs once the Universities and University Colleges Act (Auku) 1971 is amended, Education Minister Maszlee Malik said.

He said this would apply to students in all public universities except those at Universiti Teknologi Mara Malaysia and International Islamic University Malaysia, which are not governed by Auku.

Maszlee said students would be able to set up BN clubs or PPBM clubs. Such political clubs were common in developed countries.

Maszlee also said the management of public universities would also undergo reforms, with students given greater freedom of speech.

“The education ministry is committed to setting up student unions and speakers’ corners.

“In several campuses, undergraduates will be given places in university senates to deal with issues concerning the students,” he said while debating on the mid-term review of the 11th Malaysia Plan at the Dewan Rakyat.

Maszlee also told the House that the whole election process in the campus would be run by students without any outside interference.

“We are passing the power back to the undergraduates.”

Ismail Sabri Yaakob (BN-Bera) said at present, undergraduates could contest among themselves even without Auku being amended, adding that “this is not something new, only the minister is new”.

Hearing this, the minister chuckled and replied: “The elections were guarded and controlled. Students who were not in line with BN faced a lot of restrictions.”

Maszlee said the move to set up political clubs in public universities was also in line with the government’s move to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 and expose students to politics and elections.