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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Syed Saddiq cries sabotage after UiTM blocks internship dialogue


Muda president Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman has cried sabotage over a dialogue session scheduled to take place at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Shah Alam tonight.

He accused the varsity of preventing tonight’s dialogue organised by Muda affiliate Ikatan Mahasiswa Demokratik Malaysia, titled “Interns are not Forced Labour”, from taking place.

However, the Muar MP said he would still head to UiTM to engage with students.

Speaking at a press conference in Parliament today, Syed Saddiq (above) claimed that the university on March 28 rejected an application to hold the dialogue, purportedly to maintain harmony within the campus.

“When have I ever entered the campus to cause a ruckus? I have a very close relationship with UiTM,” he said. 

Syed Saddiq added he was allowed to attend dialogue sessions within the campus last year when he was a member of the opposition in the previous government.

This time, however, he said he was prevented from holding an open dialogue session even though he is now a backbencher of the government.

“It is odd that I was allowed to speak when I was in the opposition but now that I am in the government I am unable to. 

“I’m sorry but to say that this is to maintain harmony (on campus) does not make sense and goes against the principles of the Madani government,” he said.

Closure due to ‘technical issues’

Syed Saddiq claimed another attempt by UiTM to bar the event from commencing was through a notice posted on the gates of Kolej Melati, a residential college in the university’s campus, saying it will be closed from 9pm to 6am due to technical issues. The dialogue session was to start at 10pm.

“It is as if [the university] is trying to prevent the students from joining the dialogue session. They are adults,” he said.

The announcement of the technical issues was posted to Mahasiswa Demokratik’s Twitter page at 10.45am today.

Mahasiswa Demokratik in a statement said the closure of the college’s gates also contradicts an earlier circular on March 20 that allowed students to leave the premises up until 2am. 

Checks by Malaysiakini found that technical issues affecting Kolej Melati were resolved by 1pm today, according to a message sent to the resident council’s Telegram group. 

Meanwhile, a circular purportedly addressed to all students in UiTM’s Administrative Science and Policy Studies faculty was also posted on Mahasiswa Demokratik’s Twitter page.

In the circular, sighted by Malaysiakini, the faculty’s dean said that students were only allowed to participate in programmes approved by the university.

“Accordingly, all students are asked to not be involved in the ‘Interns are not Forced Labour Dialogue’ at Dataran Cendekiawan, UiTM Shah Alam, which will be held on March 30 at 10pm since this programme has not received approval from the university.

“Any organising or involvement in a programme, including politically related ones, in the campus is only allowed after obtaining written approval in advance from the university.

“In this case, the faculty will not be responsible for any consequences of violations that may lead to disciplinary action being taken against the students involved,” read the circular purportedly issued by the dean. 

The faculty’s dean declined to comment when contacted by Malaysiakini. - Mkini

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