Never underestimate the power of students. For decades, some of the most creative and breakthrough ideas have come not from CEOs and power brokers but from students who didn't let anything hold them back. And what's also interesting is that they always have.
Bill Gates and Paul Allen were teenagers when the idea of the personal computer and the software industry first occurred to them. When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak invented machines that popularized the household computer, they were 21 and 25. These is because they have the full freedom.
Students need places where the freedom to express ideas, the freedom to challenge the status quo, and the freedom to think the unthinkable are not curtailed or made subservient to political correctness or ministerial masters, or beholden to the government of the day.
Unfortunately, there is something that stop student from think beyond the boundaries and that is Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA/AUKU).
As we all known, recently there were 4 UKM political science students that being charged for observing the recent Hulu Selangor by-election campaign. They are Muhammad Hilman bin Idham, Muhammad Ismail bin Aminuddin, Azlin Shafina Mohamad Adzha and Woon King Chai.
I just don’t understand why can’t political students join and observe the political event in our country. What’s the point of them to be a political student if they cannot experience and grasp the real political scene?
This clearly show contradiction where in Article 119 of Federal Constitution in Malaysia specifically states that every citizens above the age of 21 is qualified to vote, which is a form of expression and participation in politics, while the provisions under Section 15(5)(a) of the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971, disallows students from expressing support and participating in politics.
Even though financing for higher education is provided by the government, it should not be the case that “he who pays the piper calls the tune.” Our universities should be melting pots of thinking and crucibles of ideas. Our country, nay our children and future generations of Malaysians to come, deserve no less.
The UUCA is an act that limits students from what the students think and allowed to say. Students cannot be expected to just bury their faces in books. If I don’t go into society, how will I join society?
The voting age in the country is 21 years. So if students cannot be seen at any political party, how to vote? Are they expecting students to vote based on how handsome a candidate looks?? Of course the students have to know what he stands for, what his party stands for and will do for society.
Looking at the restrictions in UUCA, it doesn’t allow students the freedom to make decisions. These students will go on to be the future leaders. Effectively we will have leaders that have never made decisions and will only be learning how to do so once they are leaders. That is the reason for the poor quality of graduates nowadays that everyone is complaining about. If u are to be the future leader, u must have maturity and that comes in part from experience.
I think the reason why the students are not allowed to involve in politics is mainly cause by the incident of students reformation in 70’s led by Anwar Ibrahim, who was a student in Malaya University. Thousands of students joined to condemn Tun Razak’s government. Issues such as famine in Baling and hardcore poverty was raised. Later, hundreds of students faced disciplinary action (though later charges were dropped since they are too many students).
Since then, students were barred since it may cause another incident of the same nature. Reasons were then given that it may affect their studies, immature by age and may act impulsively on certain aspects and even possibility of being manipulated to serve other parties’ interests.
Thus, with the enforcement of UUCA, students should be able to study without any distraction what-so-ever. Yet, doubt remains, why does from each corner comes complaint on poor quality of local graduates? And now the government want to spend another RM10 millions for graduates to re-training after the graduation. What’s the point of graduates studying for 3-5 years at the university when they have to re-training themselves after that? Better just go straight ahead to the program made by the government for them to get a job after that and no need to spend few years in university.
One might say that “I’m not into politic”. But life as a whole is a politic u idiot! If u are saying that all parties are the same, don’t complain on anything even on a price hike since silence is bliss. Voting is the only means of talking. U don’t like the way things are done, show it on the ballot.
Students are citizens of this country and a member of humanity. They too have such rights. The right to make their own choices, whether it be about the best football club, the best person to represent them in campus, the best policies of government, their choice of a spouse, their choice of an academic career, their choice as to who to associate with and etc.
If we prohibit these freedoms, can we then say that we have respected these people’s fundamental rights or allowed these people to develop their personality to the fullest?
In the case of political awareness, it is when u know that u know u have to act, to quote Martin Luther King Jr., "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter". Politics is not bad. It is a reality of life and indeed promises the seductive realm of power to the hungry many. So why can't we talk about it?