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Thursday, May 27, 2010

The UKM 4 - wither our student movements?

I had not planned to write about the UKM 4 as the topic has been exhaustively covered by the alternative media.

Among others, SABM has written about it on its website. An online petition has been started and it could be accessed here.

However, I was startled to read what the President of UKM Student Council writes on the Persatuan Mahasiswa Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia's website. Essentially, in his capacity as the President of the Student Council,  Mohd Hamzah Zainul Abidin  actually supported the university's action or proposed action against the UKM 4!

I find that ironic.

Here they are, four students of UKM, who presumably are also members of the PMUKM, are charged by UKM for allegedly breaching the University and University-College Act 1971 - allegedly they expressed support for a political party, which happened to be an opposition party - and may be subject to disciplinary action.

And the President of PMUKM is supporting the charge! Well, he sounded like he is. At the very least, he is not objecting to the charge. He in fact trumpets  the wisdom of the prohibition against students being involved in politics in the UUCA.

When I was involved in students politics while in the University of Malaya in the early 80s, I made it a point to attack the UUCA at every available opportunity.

My comrades and I believed that the UUCA was  paralysing the students, student movements and was a tool to subjugate the students. The UUCA had the effect of producing an unthinking culture among the students as well as a submissive and subservient attitude. 

I still believe so until today.

I remember during the closing of a leadership course, as a student representative, I was invited to give a speech. In full attendance of senior lecturers, my college Master as well as the late Associate Professor Yunus Md Noor, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student Affairs), I let ripped a full blown tirade against the UUCA.

I still remember almost verbatim of what I said. "The students are like very intelligent guard dogs, always on guard against danger. But the UUCA shackled us and tie all of us to an old rusty pole."

The students were clapping. My college Master was smiling. Professor Yunus laughed aloud. When his turn came about, he looked at me and said, "the dogs should not bark too much. Sometimes the dogs even barked at cars passing by." We all laughed. But then deep resentment of the UUCA was there for all to feel.

After the closing ceremony I went to the late Professor. I told him the dogs are intelligent enough not to bark at anything which move. Like a father, he smiled and said, "be patient."

I would never forget that.

But now we have a student council, through its very own President supporting the paralysing UUCA! And not objecting to the utterly ridiculous and unconstitutional charges brought against its own members! What irony!!

Among others, the President of PMUKM said that the government pays 90% of the fees and so it wants all students to concentrate on their studies. And if the students are involved in politics, there might be polarisations in campus.

Huh?

University students are not supposed to only study. They are supposed to learn and be educated. One studies in primary schools. Even in secondary schools, one is supposed to learn and get an education rather than being "taught how to pass exams with 18As." There is a different between studying and learning. That is why universities are known as "higher learning institutions."

Being involved in politics is a part of the learning process. Being active in nation building is one part of the learning process too. What is so wrong with that?

And since when does being involved in politics cause polarisation? Polarisation and racial segregation start in the mind. It is in the attitude and the prejudices which we hold in ourselves. That translate into our actions, whether the actions are political in nature or otherwise.

One does not have to be a politician to be a racist bigot!

The prohibition against students being involved in politics or to even express support to a political party is unconstitutional. The Constitution guarantees, among others,  every citizen's freedom of association. The right to vote is also enshrined in the Constitution. Freedom of speech is also guaranteed.

Now, if a student votes in an election, wouldn't that amount to expressing support to a political party? Would all students who vote in an election be hauled up and charged under the UUCA then?

What crap is that?

Our students have obviously become lame. This is obviously due to years and years of indoctrination and idolatry. Years and years of being mentally abused by the likes of BTN and its ilk. Years and years of being treated like lambs instead of barking guard dogs.

If the students themselves do not appear to know, let alone to want to protect their rights, I shudder to think of the quality of our future leaders.

14 comments:

IsOn said...

I'm an ex-UKM student. I wasn't a prominent figure in campus those days, but I do agree that student shouldn't be charged for 'learning' politics.

The only logical reason suit to my mind why students were not encouraged to participate seriously in politics is the worry that it will jeopardize their academic.

But students are not supposed to be imprisoned in their campus and let their mental to be blocked from learning what they should learn. Otherwise, how can we produce good leaders with critical and creative thinking.

Students should not be programmed like computers. They are human beings. Not robots. They should be exercising their human nature. Otherwise, they don't need to be in universities.

NurL said...

The only wrong they did is they support oppacition party. Try it will the rulling party, I am sure they will be praise but not charge.

Bentoh said...

Ugh, if there should be no politics, then why bother to introduce campus election? Do it NUS style then, individual faculty clubs appoint representatives into student council and the student council then elects the exco for the student union... And mind you NUS is top 5 university in Asia!

Anyway, we all know UKM student council is controlled by the pro-establishment ones... And the school in turn helps these bunch of people to secure votes year after year in the election, by crook mostly...

Leithaisor said...

I wonder... what would have been the case if the 4 ukm students were sitting in a car driven by a BN compnent party member? Maybe flying a BN flag as well?

What if on reaching their destination, they repaid their kind benefactor by helping to carry a couple of boxes of campaigning material into the BN office?

Would any action have been taken against them?

LAT said...

The more these BN-UKM evils cohoot suppressing the freedom of association and the exholtation of rights of these young blood, the greater will this quiet strong undercurrent be manifested in yet another tsunami cum tornado come next GE. While EVIL meat it for destruction of the oppressed, but GOOD FORCE meant it for the liberation from the oppressor ! for as sure as the sun rises from the east, Good shall overcome evil.

Anonymous said...

I like the that part learning is for primary and even secondary schoolers. in university you get education. with education you gain faculty to think. and thinking people dont vote BN. so get them out of the way now.

Dense said...

I really dont know why you are getting your knickers in a knot over this issue. In reality the whole of Malaysian society from parents, to religion, to schools, to government and to employers are hell bent on suppressing and repressing the young people of this nation

What this country needs is an enlightened approach that inspires and fosters children to become individuals who can contribute to society. Instead all you have is mindless clones guaranteed not to question anything

CK said...

hi arty

not a surprise the president of PMUKM supported the uni's action. talk to any local uni students nowadays, you will find that majority of them, i'll say at least 70% of them are ignorant to what happened to our country, politically at least. the government had successfully dumb the generation and we are the one to suffer. dumb and dumber. and i can attest this because i was locally graduated too.

moonriver said...

The situation in our Uni's is practically hopeless! Its no wonder that the students are becoming lambs, they are actually being thought by academicians who largely have mutated into zombies. All they worry about is their 'syok sendiri punya career' as profesor kankung and how much $$$$ they make!

blink said...

I have to differ with you Art, - there should be no difference in the way we look at learning / education in primary, secondary or university. Let me share a quote with you:

"Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire." ~William Yeats~

However, sometimes fire will burn a little too close to home; so Dense is correct in saying that the whole of Malaysian society is bent on suppressing critical thinking. The 'kids' are easier to 'handle' that way - mindless clones who does as they are told.

Anonymous said...

That is why we have today kangkung professors and lallang students in our public universities.

C++ said...

Bhai Art...

UUCA only generate student who only care about love and sex in campus but not the real future leadership grooming.

That's what UUCA is set to be... it's all about love and sex for them.

Anonymous said...

Art,

What's frightening is that this chap (President of UKM Student Council) might well end up as one of BN's leaders in future.

Do we need more reasons why our country is going to the dogs???

Ralfie said...

The PMUKM president sure is practicing his apple polishing skills early. If one is to be used as an example of the end product of the UUCA, he'd make the perfect example. Lame excuses, lame arguments and lame everything. I've known a lot of my friends who are politically active and did well in school and I've know some that are politically inactive and failed in school too. How do you explain top colleges in the world then with a lot of its students involved actively in politics and policy making? How did they manage to stay atop with their students supposedly "distracted"? Why bother asking college age kids to vote then?