Undergraduates holding positions in political parties can now hold posts in campus bodies.
KUALA LUMPUR: Students holding positions in political parties can now also hold posts in campus societies under the Universities and University Colleges (Amendment) Bill 2012.
The earlier clause barring undergraduates from holding both posts in political parties and campus bodies was scrapped today.
Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin made the decision in the Dewan Rakyat while debating the Bill at the committee stage, after hearing Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin’s opposition to the clause.
It was also a rare moment when both sides of the political divide voted in opposition to the clause.
Section 15 (2) C of the amendment disallows students holding political party position from holding or standing for any post in any organisation, society, body or group of students in the campus.
Earlier, Khaled told the Dewan Rakyat that the clause was needed in order to ensure the universities remained politically neutral at all times.
However, Khairy, who was representing the BN backbenchers, argued that the clause was contradictory to the government’s transformation plan and social norms that call for political freedom for students.
Although he agreed that campus neutrality was important, he said it should not be a regressive act that would stifle the undergraduates’ freedom of expression.
“Section 15 (2) C would even disallow undergraduates holding party positions from even holding a position in theatre or drama club at the university. It doesn’t make sense.
“It’s like we are half-hearted in giving them freedom. Plus, it will create unnecessary negative polemics later on,” said Khairy, the Umno Youth chief.
Praising Khairy for his convincing argument, Khaled then moved to scrap the clause from the amendment.