Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Mockery of Student Elections

Here's an updated post, thanks to information provided by Malaysiakini on the student elections to be conducted in the coming week. Read the full Malaysiakini article here, while I'll highlight just some of the silliest shennigans at our local public universities which makes an absolute mockery of democracy and elections.

Special Tests
In University Malaya (UM) potential candidates must possess a grade-point average of 3.0 and above to be eligible, while International Islamic University (UIA) requires candidates to pass an “English Proficiency Assessment”. UIA, once stronghold of anti-establishment camp, also lists “students who understand the university's expectation (vision and mission) and appreciative to the government's aspirations” as one of the requirements to be candidates.
While I might not be so critical on the policy to have students acheiving a minimum grade-point average to be eligible, an "English Proficiency Assessment"?

It will be most interesting if our actual General Elections is ruled by such regulations! :) Imagine if the Election Commission sets the rules such that candidates must at least be degree holders with minimum CGPA of 2.8 and above, and pass the English proficiency test - would more than half of our existing Member of Parliament be disqualified? Hmmm... it may not be such a bad idea after all, for it'll rid the parliament of some of the useless junk.

At Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), candidates need to fork out RM30 for a nomination form, a RM100 (faculty seat) or RM150 (general seat) deposit and RM300 if they wish to file a protest after the polls.
Unbelievable. So, now only the "rich" students can contest in elections. And obviously students are discouraged from filing protests and objections judging by the exhorbitant RM300! These are students, for goodness sake!

Let us for a moment, just go back to the principles and rationales behind holding elections for student councils. Surely amongst the many honourable principles are:
  • To promote student leadership

    Students will be given the opportunity to speak up and lead their fellow students. They will learn to better express their opinions which will clearly help them in their future careers. They will learn independence, critical thinking and resourcefulness, the very "soft skills" which our universities want inculcated in our students.

  • To demonstrate the democratic process

    Students will be given the opportunity to understand an electoral process. They will also see the moral and ethical values in a justly conducted elections. This is in the hope that they will become morally upright future leaders with integrity.
Is our current student election process in our local universities achieving any of these 2 major objectives?

You've got it. Absolutely none. In fact, I would argue that the current processes is doing the exact opposite, breeding corrupt, spiteful and untrustworthy leaders without integrity. Instead of learning to treasure our democratic institutions engraved in our constitution, they will only learn the mechanics of making an absolute mockery of it.

Abdul Razak Ahmad wrote in the New Straits Times today that the newly established Malaysia Institute of Integrity is launching a programme on "Integrity in Politics", "a programme specially tailored for politicians, it made Malaysia perhaps the only country where politicians are being actively goaded to become a more, well, honest lot."

Apparently one such participant of the programme has this to say of the programme:
[He] was reported by a national language newspaper of pondering on the need to focus on "integrity", which he half-jokingly said was a harmful "foreign agenda" — of the Jewish variety, to boot.
Anyone see the connection with our local universities where the future leaders graduate from, starting with the "blame the Jews" culture as well as an election system without integrity?

With elections conducted like this, why bother have elections in the first place?


Anonymous said...

Dear Tony,
The Malaysiakini article is not available for all as it is a paid site. Can you try to upload the article without infringing the copyright from the Malaysiakini?
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Bother or not bother, the outcome is still the same. The graduates themselves will struggle to secure jobs along with dozens of overseas and private U conterparts in the private sector, which mostly comprises MNCs that are linked to the Jewish elements. Guess who is the biggest invester in the country? But fret not. The government is willing to accomodate the unemployed ones with vacancies that are not filled within the government agencies.