UUCA amendments an eyewash: BN maintains iron grip on students & universities - Surendran
I refer to the BN government's amendments to the UUCA 1971 which was tabled today at the Dewan Rakyat. The amendments are superficial, ineffective, restrictive and intended to maintain UMNO-BN's iron grip on students and universities. The amendments now allow students to become members of political parties.
However, the amendments also prohibit students who hold posts in political parties from running in campus elections or holding posts in student bodies. Neither can students carry on political activity in university campuses. These unnecessary and oppressive restrictions render meaningless students' right to become members of political parties.
The restrictions are also in breach of Article 10 of the Federal Constitution and are thus unlawful and unconstitutional. It is clear now that the government never had the intention to give more freedom to students and universities despite Najib's promises of reform.
Repeal in entirety
The UUCA 1971 must be repealed in its entirety. The whole thrust and purport of the UUCA is to stifle, repress and silence students and universitiy ruling bodies and staffs. Under the UUCA 1971, the appointment of the Vice Chancellor, Board of Directors and Senate are all in the control of the government.
This allows the BN to maintain a stranglehold on both the administration and academic content of our universities. This has prevented original thinking, innovation and intellectual curiosity in our universities; and led to plummeting academic standards.
Other provisions such as section 4 of the UUCA allow the Minister to intervene directly into the affairs of the universities. We call upon PM Najib Razak and the government to immediately withdraw the University and University College( Amendment) Bill 2012 and two other related bills introduced today.
Instead, the government must introduce a new bill to completely repeal the UUCA 1971 and other related laws. Najib must understand that dishonest, fake and cosmetic reforms will not win him the support of the people.
N SURENDRAN IS THE VICE PRESIDENT OF PARTI KEADILAN RAKYAT