Dr M against political parties setting up branches in public universities

  • Nation
  • Friday, 02 Nov 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has reservations about allowing political parties to set up branches in public universities.

“No, no, no,” said the Prime Minister when asked to comment on the proposed amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act (AUKU) 1971.

“You are free to talk as you like, but tak payah lah bagi (there is no need to allow it),” he said after attending the 2018 Conferment of Fellowship of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia here yesterday.

On Tuesday, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik was reported to have said in the Dewan Rakyat that the proposed amendments would allow political parties to set up branches in all public universities.

Dr Maszlee was also reported as saying that campus elections were previously regulated by the university management and that students and academics who did not agree with the previous government were restricted.

In his speech, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia would be overtaken by other developing countries if it fails to make effective use of science, technology and innovation (STI) to fuel the country’s economic growth.

He said several developing countries were already making big efforts to employ the latest innovations in their industries and enterprises.

He did not identify the countries but said they competed for the same markets, skilled workforce and foreign direct investments as Malaysia.

Dr Mahathir added that even traditional sectors such as agriculture, plantation and commodities could benefit from the latest innovations with mechanisation and automation able to reduce the need for labour.

He also said following the recent launch of the National Policy on Industry 4.0, the third national car project would be a good start to implement some of the strategies recommended in the policy.

“Out of 21 Malaysian industries, the automotive industry is classified as a pace-setter due to the level of knowledge and innovation capacity built up over the years since Malaysia first embarked on car manufacturing,” said Dr Mahathir.

He later conferred ASM Fellowships on 29 new Fellows of the academy, including Datuk Dr Tengku Mohd Azzman Shariffadeen, who was appointed Senior Fellow of ASM.

Dr Tengku Mohd Azzman, who led technology firm Mimos Bhd for 21 years, is credited among others for his pioneering work in developing the information and communications technology field in Malaysia.

The ASM has 352 Fellows, which includes 28 Senior Fellows. A total of 24 recipients of the Top Research Scientists Malaysia 2018 award were also announced at the event.

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