Khaled: Possibility of allowing parties to set up branches in universities not discounted

KUALA LUMPUR: The possibility of allowing political parties to set up branches in universities has not been discounted, says Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin.

The Higher Education Minister said that although there were no plans to abolish the University Colleges Act 1971 (Auku), existing weaknesses would be addressed.

"Amendments were previously done with regard to student freedom and management of universities.

"Among them was allowing university students to join political parties whether in or outside campus including allowing them to stand as candidates in the general elections.

"Apart from all these, this includes considering the matter raised by Yang Berhormat," he said when responding to a supplementary question raised by Muhammad Islahuddin Abas (PN-Mersing) in Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (March 2).

Muhammad asked if amendments would be made to the Auku to allow political parties to set up branches on university campuses.

Earlier, Khaled told Muhammad that appointments of vice chancellors of public universities would be done by the Higher Education Minister in accordance with procedures under the Auku.

On Tuesday (Feb 28), Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof told Parliament that the government was still open to re-look the Auku.

Meanwhile, Khaled told Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen (PH-Bandar Kuching) that further Amendments to the Auku would likely be tabled in the next Dewan Rakyat meeting.

"I give my assurance that Amendments would be considered for any weakness in the Auku.

"One of them being considered is on the question of student associations managing their own accounts.

"It is in the process and we will try to bring the Amendments in the next session," Khaled said.

Dr Kelvin said that there were still some restrictions on students' freedom despite previous amendments.

Khaled had previously informed Dewan Rakyat that there were no plans by the government to abolish the Auku as the law was still needed for universities administrative purposes.

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