UKM ‘victimised’ students get Pakatan backing
Pakatan Rakyat MPs today unanimously threw their support behind four Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia students who were allegedly “victimised” under the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) 1971.
In celebrating their “bravery”, the MPs equated the students’ courage to stand up for their rights to that shown by the 12 volunteers who were part of the convoy ferrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, which came under Israeli attack last Monday.
This acknowledgement came in a joint statement issued by the MPs and student representatives of Solidarity Mahasiwa Malaysia (SMM).
SMM had presented Pakatan with a declaration calling for freedom of speech, independent academia and campus democracy.
Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong, questioned the rationale behind the move when Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was himself calling on the people to be innovative and informed.
“How do our students become innovative, knowledgeable and informed citizens and leaders if we keep stifling them through undemocratic means?
“It just contradicts the PM’s desire for an informed society,” he said, adding that he would propose that Parliament set up a special committee to investigate the students’ complaints as documented in the SMM declaration.
At the Parliament lobby today, Machang MP Saifuddin Nasution promised the students that Pakatan will bring up issue in the Dewan Rakyat soon.
“We fully support SMM. We accept this declaration because we believe in campus democracy and the right to free speech. We also believe that the UUCA mus be repealed,” said Saifuddin, who is also PKR secretary-general.
He criticised Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia for charging the four students under the Act with being involved in the Hulu Selangor by-election.
He said their involvement should be respected as they were students from the political science faculty of UKM.
SMM chairman Mohd Shazni Munir said a copy of the declaration will also be forwarded to the BN MPs later this evening.
“We want everyone to know what is happening to our students. Some have been suspended, sacked and fined for simply voicing their views.
“We decided to hand over the declaration today because International Student Rights Day was on June 6.
“This declaration is to commemorate that day and our commitment to truth and campus democracy,” he said.