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Monday, August 30, 2021

UM student union raises doubts over minister's return, cites past failures

 


A student movement from a major public university has raised doubts over the return of former higher education minister Noraini Ahmad to this position again, citing her past failures while under the previous Perikatan Nasional administration.

The Universiti Malaya Students Union (UMSU) 2021 said in a statement released today that Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob's move to reinstate Noraini (above) does not reflect his commitment towards involving the younger generation in Malaysia’s economic recovery.

Noraini, who is Wanita Umno chief, held the post under the Muhyiddin Yassin-led Perikatan Nasional government. She resigned from the post on Aug 6, after the Umno supreme council withdrew its support for Muhyiddin.

"UMSU takes note of the various challenges that come with the formation of a new government.

"Be it as it may, the above decision regarding the position of minister of higher education is no longer something we, as tertiary students of Malaysia, will abide by," the group said.

"Her shortcomings in her previous tenure surely highlight how unsuited she is for the role that was given to her.

"Simply put, she is unable to realise the aspirations that the position of a higher education minister demands," they further said.

Suffering from putting off registration last year

Among others, UMSU cited how thousands of students were affected by a last-minute decision in October last year to postpone registration for the new academic year, with many having made travel arrangements to return to campus amid a spike in Covid-19 cases.

"Students studying outside of their home states were further troubled by being unable to procure lodgings in nearby hotels, nor were they allowed to remain in their college campus.

"Distressingly, the cost of returning home was fully borne by the students," they said.

UMSU said students from Sabah and Sarawak were forced to spend hundreds of ringgit on RT-PCR tests, and the union's claim for compensation from the ministry has yet to be fulfilled.

At the same time, UMSU said the government's failure to repeal the University and University Colleges Act 1971 also reflected its lack of initiative in implanting democratic thinking in the younger generation.

"For the sake of this country’s future, UMSU would like to strongly urge members of the cabinet to hold a re-election for the office of minister of higher education," they said.

Noraini, along with former energy and natural resources minister Shamsul Anuar Nasarah resigned earlier this month in support of the stand taken by the Umno supreme council to pull support from Muhyiddin.

She was reappointed by Ismail to the current cabinet, along with others from Umno who remained in the PN government until its fall after Muhyiddin's resignation. - Mkini

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