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, students are our responsibility 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 Representatives Council moved the session out of campus after the varsity postponed the event.
Lamenting on Facebook, Najib claimed the event might have been cancelled because 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 are responsible in ensuring nothing untoward happens.
“We do not have any restrictions on student activities, even if it includes inviting politicians from both divides to campus.
“In fact, we just held a forum yesterday (Thursday) 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 the changes in the Malaysian political landscape,” he said.
UKM Student Representatives Council deputy president Muhammad Izzat Ebrahim said he organised the meet-and-greet to discuss current issues that students face.
“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 like booking the venue.
“It was not 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.