Act revision a welcome relief

THE DECISION to amend the Universities and University Colleges Act is a welcome relief as the Act is responsible for the pathetic state of student movements today.

Entrepreneur and Co-operative Development Deputy Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, in a column in Berita Harian’s education pages said he was one of the victims of the Act back in 1984 when he was a student activist at University Malaya.

“I am glad to be part of the Barisan Nasional administration at a time when the Government has agreed to amend the Act,” he said.

“These days, even the campus student union elections were somewhat tainted with undergraduates complaining of interference from political parties and the biasness of the Student Affairs Department that treated them like school kids,” he added.

Saifuddin said he had questioned the existence of phantom voters last year at two of the universities’ elections and condemned the practice of lucky draws for those who came out to vote, saying this was a humiliation to the whole intellectual process and tantamount to money politics.

He also said that the Act did not generate a new crop of leaders because, in a number of universities, students won the seats uncontested.

He said there were three views about the Act – the first believed it was good for the students, second that it needed to be done away with and replaced with a new Act and the third, that it needed to be amended.

He slammed those who believed the Act should be maintained in its current form because there was a need to control students from going against the Government.

Saifuddin said it was also bizarre that university students were encouraged to vote in the general elections, and yet denied the right to join any political party while still at university.

Other News & Views is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with a sub-heading, it denotes a separate news item.

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