Sunday, May 25, 2008

Will We See UUCA Reforms?

The University and University Colleges Act (1971), and its much awaited amendments is one of the few questions which has been asked frequently by parliamentarians in the current sitting. Off my head, I remember reading the standard answers received by Sdri Fong Po Kuan of Batu Gajah as well as Nurul Izzah Anwar of Lembah Pantai.

The question by BATU GAJAH was to asking the Minister of Higher Education
...mengapakah pindaan kepada Akta Universiti dan Kolej Universiti masih enggan dibentangkan di Parlimen untuk memberi kelonggaran kepaad para pelajar Universiti melibatkan diri di dalam politik.
The reply by the Minister was
...deraf kajian cadangan pindaan Akta Universiti dan Kolej Unviersiti 1971 (AUKU) telah memasuki fasa akhir. Kementerian menjangkakan akan membentangkan deraf tersebut di Mesyarat Parlimen yang akan datang.
Memandangkan AUKU 1971 adalah suatu Akta yang amat sensitif sifatnya dan mendapat perhatian semua pihak sama ada parti politik, pelajar, pensyarah, ibubapa atau masyarakat amnya, maka proses pindaan AUKU sudah pasti akan mengambil masa yang agak lama. Maka adalah tidak tepat jika dikatakan Kementerian enggan membentangkan pindaan AUKU di Parlimen.

Pindaan AUKU mesti diperhalusi dengan mengambil kira setiap sudut penilaian dan kependingan 'stakeholders'. Kementerian tidak mahu nanti apabila AUKU dipinda akan timbul ketidakpuasan hati ibubapa yang pada hemat Kementerian lebih mengharapkan anak mereka menimba ilmu dan tidak terlibat dengan parti politik atau sebagainya yang boleh mengakibatkan kegagalan dalam pengajian universiti.
While reforms to the AUKU (UUCA) has been mooted since 2 years ago, the progress of the proposed amendments has been painstakingly slow. There has been requests in the Parliment to first review what the Ministry plans to change before tabling the amended bill, but this has been rejected by the Minister on the basis that consultation has already been conducted.

It is also obvious from the tone of the answer above that political participation will remain a no-go for students, and likely academics. The funny bit however, is with the excuse that it's the parents who are objecting to their participation as it may cause the students to fail their studies.

The excuse is however, almost laughable because:
  1. Just because there are parents objecting to certain activities in school does not mean that they should be forcibly outlawed (we are not talking about immoral activities here)

  2. If these students will fail in their studies, it doesn't take political activities to do so, it can very well be anything else from sports, to lepaking, to boy-girl relationships etc.
As Dr Azmi Sharom mentioned in his earlier articles, allowing for political participation isn't going to create a huge demand for such events in schools. Malaysian students today are apathetic enough as it is without the need for laws to make them so.

What increased freedom will create however is a more aware set of students who will understand better what is happening in their society and country, increasing their civic mindedness and ultimately being more attached to the idea of making Malaysia a better place for everyone.

Well, the next parliamentary session starts at the end of June, so we wouldn't have to wait too long to hear what the Higher Education Minister have got to say ;-)


Anonymous said...

It is interesting to know that it was Dr M that curbed the freedoms of expression at universities. It is also interesting to know that not too long ago during his reign English, Mandarin and anything faintly resembling anything from the West or North was prohibited including the limitation of Mandarin organges during CNY. I remember of being scolded at public facilities whenever I spoke in English and was made to speak BM. Thus, really now you see the clock for development being set backwards and the non-speaking countries in Asia catching up or surpassed us because there was no hangup about English as being a colonial tongue like Dr M had. Further, Dr M would wage arguments with anyone that disagreed with him whether it was right or wrong thus dampening much needed healthy discourse and debate at universities. I think he didn't want people to be clever and to follow his every word.

Anonymous said...

Dear Tony,

I have been harbouring this thought for a while.

Malaysian students generally are:
1) timid, keeping to themselves
2) unable to produce original, lateral thinking answers
3) prefer to be spoon fed
4) worse still, look at some that end up in civil service & thei mentality

in short, non-proactive and non-critical thinking

that's why we should have debating as a module in secondary school studies and story telling in primary level. Not too much weightage, like 10% to 15%, so that we can make our students take time to devote part of their time to learn to think and talk outloud.

Knowing the A chasers' dedication for prefection, it will bring the real best out in the open. We have too many all As SPM students nowdays and we have to find a way to split hairline, in this case, more rounded individuals from great book crunches

What d'u think? I think Teo Nie Ching benefitted from debating in school

Lee Wee Tak

Anonymous said...

I doubt there will be reforms to UCCA or ISA acts...thats their important tools to control the rakyat (not communists anymore)

Anonymous said...

Tony - can you consider putting up my suggestions on the Research Assessment Exercise (Setara)

Anonymous said...

allowing for political participation isn't going to create a huge demand for such events in schools."

Wrong. Wasn't it the young, politically aware young people who turned the tables on UMNO just a short while ago? Wasn't it how alternatif got into power now?

Anonymous said...

Very importantly, will reforms be effective enough to produce results as this?

Survey shows NUS business graduates get higher starting pay

By Imelda Saad, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 26 May 2008 1937 hrs

SINGAPORE: The job market is looking rosy for business graduates from the National University of Singapore.

A survey on its 2007 batch of graduates showed that almost all secured jobs within six months of graduation.

Eight in 10 got a job even before graduation and about seven in 10 received two or more job offers.

The graduates are also getting higher starting salaries, with top earners receiving up to S$10,800 a month.

NUS said the mean starting pay of its business graduates rose by some 13 per cent to more than S$3,000.

Most of the graduates are employed in banking and finance, oil and energy, and fast moving consumer goods industries.

Also doing well are graduates from Nanyang Technological University (NTU). Its largest cohort of more than 4,800 last year were the highest paid.

Nine in 10 of them secured jobs within just a month of graduation and more received multiple job offers.

Salaries of some top earners exceeded as much as S$15,000 a month. - CNA/vm

Anonymous said...

Tony, can you write something to warn our Malaysian students?

I am a victim.

Not many places accept our atas malaysian matriculation. I try apply to Singapore, and they say not accepted. UEC and STPM, yes. Malaysia matriculation no. Don't let others get shock like me.