KUALA LUMPUR: Any ongoing disciplinary action against university students over political activities will be dropped with immediate effect following amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 (UUCA), says Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik.
"As stated, all disciplinary action which has yet to be concluded, will cease … effective tonight," said Dr Maszlee when relying to points raised by lawmakers during the debate on the UUCA amendment bill on Monday (Dec 10).
For ongoing court cases of students involved in politics, Dr Maszlee said that the government would ensure that the cases are discontinued, if any.
However, he said some court cases involving students were dropped even before the amendment bills were passed in Parliament.
Dr Maszlee said that while these amendments give freedom to students to participate in politics, they must exercise it within the boundaries of the law.
"The freedom given to university students comes with responsibility and accountability.
"They are bound by existing laws. Giving them freedom to be involved in politics does not mean it will lead to anarchism," said Dr Maszlee.
He said the new freedom will give students the opportunity to invite politicians into their campuses and even set up their own political clubs, subject to approval from their varsities' vice-chancellors.
"However, I believe in the spirit of the new Malaysia, the vice-chancellors will consider such requests and allow it," added Dr Maszlee.
He added that he believed that students are matured enough to divide their time between their studies and political activities.
Dr Maszlee said that the amendments made to UUCA tonight were historic as it is the first step towards the repealing of the Act by 2020.
The UUCA was passed in the Dewan Rakyat by a majority voice vote.
Apart from the UUCA, amendments to the Educational Institutions (Discipline) Act 1976 and the Private Higher Educational Institutions Act 1996 were also passed in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday.
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