Student political involvement proposal for Supreme Council
July 28, 2010

PETALING JAYA, July 28 — Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said he will propose that university students be allowed to take part in politics in the upcoming council meeting to ensure their active involvement in the field.

Saifuddin, who is also Deputy Higher Education Minister, said although the Universities and University Colleges Act was amended in 2008 to allow students of local public varsities to take part in political associations with permission from the Vice-Chancellor, it still needs to be reviewed again.

“The act should not distance students from politics, but instead include them in decision making processes,” he said at a news conference to announce 10 finalists for the Fourth Junior Chamber International (JCI) Creative Young Entrepreneur Award, here today.

He said this when asked to comment on the government permitting graduate education service officers (teachers) on grades DG41 to DG48 to engage in politics starting August.

Regarding the proposal to be brought up at the meeting, Saifuddin said its main purpose was to recognise the rights of university students guaranteed by the Constitution and extend public involvement in politics, especially among the younger generation.

“If as citizens they have the right to engage in politics, so why can’t they do so as students,” he said, adding that it would also attract more teenagers to register as voters.

On the decision allowing teachers to join politics, he said it was a healthy political development and would encourage clean political practices in the country.

The final round of the Creative Young Entrepreneur Award, to be held on August 7 at the Sunway Convention Centre, will select three participants to compete in the JCI World Congress in Osaka, Japan, this November. — Bernama

source: The Malaysian Insider

Faris Al-Muhandisu: I hereby fully support the proposal. Previously, The highly anticipated Universities and University Colleges Act (Amendment) Bill has generated much interest among academics and varsity students alike since it was tabled in Parliament on July 16. At the heart of the controversy is Section 15 of the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA), which deems that any student joining any off-campus societies including political parties commits a criminal offence that carries a jail term. Although the new bill would decriminalise this, but sarcastically the student could still face disciplinary action from the university.

The Universities and University Colleges Act (Amendment) Bill, would allow students to join any lawful society, organisation or group, except for “any organisation the minister has specified in writing to vice-chancellors as unsuitable to the interests and well-being of the students or university”.

While it is true, that the UUCA and related laws had stifled the student movement, we have seen that if the students themselves want it, they can get around UUCA and thus once again portray themselves as being the voice of the people. With their youth and vigour, their idealism can make up for the ‘mind-our-own business’ attitude that seems to plague the older generation.