PETALING JAYA: The Education Ministry did not interfere in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia's (UKM) decision to postpone former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's meet-and-greet event with its students.
UKM deputy vice-chancellor (Student Affairs and Alumni) Assoc Prof Dr Roslee Rajikan said the decision was made due to security reasons.
"When the students informed us of the event, we told them that in terms of safety, we do not have enough manpower.
"As a university, we have a responsibility to students and our role is to guide them to ensure any programme they organise runs smoothly.
"So we advised them to postpone the event," he said when contacted.
It was reported that UKM Student Representative Council moved the session out of campus after the varsity postponed the event.
Lamenting on Facebook, Najib claimed the event could have been cancelled as a result of him "trolling" Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik too much.
"All relevant applications and approval processes have been obtained by the council. But after Pakatan Harapan heard I was attending, they suddenly met yesterday afternoon to 'suspend' the programme.
"I was ready to wear black shoes to the forum as a sign of support for him, but it's fine, I understand," he wrote.
Dr Roslee said while the university respects the organiser's decision to host the event outside of campus, they were responsible in ensuring nothing untoward happened.
"We do not have any restriction on student activities, even if it includes inviting politicians from both (side of the) divide to campus.
"In fact, we just held a forum yesterday where Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, PAS vice-president Idris Ahmad and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia supreme council member Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen were invited to discuss changes in the Malaysian political landscape," he said.
UKM Student Representative Council deputy president Muhammad Izzat Ebrahim said he organised the meet-and-greet to discuss issues that students faced.
"The application for this programme was done according to procedure as required by the university; by filling the iSTAR (system) and obtaining an approval letter before proceeding further.
"It was not an exciting news (the postponement) as most students wanted to meet our sixth prime minister to share ideas and feedback," he said in a Facebook post.