Auku amendments to be tabled in Parliament this year


PUTRAJAYA: The Bill on the proposed amendments to Sections 15 and 16 under the Universities and University Colleges Act (Auku) 1971, which will give more freedom to students, is expected to be tabled in Parliament this year.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin (pic) said the draft will be sent to the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) for approval in mid-June.

“The sections (to be amended) have been identified and are being refined.

“The ministry is finalising clauses involving students.

“It will further increase their space and freedom to move around as students. This involves their activities and also their responsibilities and opportunities to manage their accounts themselves,” he told the media after a townhall session on the matter yesterday.

Mohamed Khaled said the ministry took note of the students’ complaints that they are not free to carry out activities on campus as they need to consult with and get approval from the university, in addition to facing financial constraints to organise any activities, Bernama reported.

“Seeing that this is something we believe can overcome the students’ feelings of being restricted, we will amend it, more so since we think that this is one way to develop the maturity of the students when they become responsible and manage their own accounts and types of activities.

“So, that’s why the amendments to this matter (are being made),” he said.

Earlier, when speaking to 500 students and academic officers from 20 public universities, Mohamed Khaled said that if the amendments to the Auku are implemented, the government will also amend the Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Act.

This is to ensure that UiTM students who are not subject to Auku will also get the same freedom as students in other public universities.

Auku is an act to provide for the establishment, maintenance and administration of universities and university colleges and other matters connected to it.

Only Sections 15 and 16 of the Auku deal directly with the students. The rest of the sections deal with the minister’s powers and the administration of universities in general, including how the universities’ financial affairs are handled.

On Dec 10, 2018, the Dewan Rakyat passed amendments to Auku involving the removal of Section 15(2) (c), which prevents students from taking part in political party activities on campus, thus giving them more space and freedom of speech and politics.

On March 19, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the government would remove provisions in Auku that restrict the freedom of students and lecturers.

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