PUTRAJAYA: Student representatives will be allowed to sit in as well as take part in government discussions on matters related to social ills.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said this would allow the students to voice their opinions on issues, especially those pertaining to the young generation.
I have agreed to allow student representatives to participate in (government) meetings and discussions, especially in areas closely related to them, he told reporters after chairing the National Student Consultative Council meeting at his office, here, yesterday.
It is understood that student representatives at the meeting expressed their wish to take part in Government meetings to discuss issues such as pornographic VCDs, incest and prostitution by foreign students.
Other issues raised at the four-hour meeting included ways to improve competitiveness among undergraduates and their level of preparedness to face globalisation.
Abdullah, who heads the Cabinet Committee on Social Ills, said the students would be permitted to participate in discussions on only certain issues, and not at all meetings held by the committee.
He added, however, that decisions or actions agreed by the committee would be conveyed to the students representatives.
Abdullah, who is also Home Minister, said the committee already had representatives from non-governmental groups attending its meetings.
The Government sees no wrong in allowing students to participate, but only in certain issues.
It is reasonable for them to attend these meetings, he said.
They (the students) understand the kind of social ills faced by the country and those involving our younger generation.
They have adopted the attitude to be prepared and to contribute their opinions towards assisting the Government to counter these ills, Abdullah added.
He said the Government had stressed to the students, during the meeting, on the importance of further improving their grasp of the English language and to increase their specialisation of knowledge in certain fields.
This is because the Government wants our young people to eventually participate in research and development activities, he said.
The student representatives were also briefed on the National Service, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and the countrys foreign policy after the Iraq war.
Seventy-two representatives from 18 public universities and private colleges attended the meeting.
The annual meeting was also attended by Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad, Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar and International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz.
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