Saturday, October 08, 2005

MCA Youth should take concrete action for the repeal of UUCA to prove that they are not indulging in plain talk.

DAPSY urged MCA Youth to take concrete action to repeal the University and University Colleges Act 1971 (UUCA) to prove that they are not indulging in plain talk.

Deputy Minister for Higher Education Datuk Fu Ah Kiew had on Monday informed the press that the government is in the process of reviewing all acts and regulations relating to the universities and colleges, including the contentious University and University Colleges Act 1971 to allow more freedom and democratic space for undergraduates.

Although the announcement was warmly welcomed by MCA Youth, there is very little response from other youth organizations. DAPSY certainly does not have any intention to undermine the “good intention” of MCA Youth. However, MCA Youth should take cognizance that the Act contravenes the spirit of the Federal Constitution, in which the basic civil liberties of Malaysian citizens are enshrined. MCA Youth should instead demand that the Act be repealed in full.

In our struggle to fight for greater democratic space in our campus, DAPSY is currently working on the following:

1. Drafting a memorandum entitled “Memorandum from Political Party Youth Wings to Repeal the UUCA”. In several campus elections held recently, campus authorities were said to have misused their power in providing support to candidates who are pro-authority to secure victory. The campus authorities reportedly even bypassed rules and regulations provided under the UUCA. Such action clearly violates the principles of fair play and democracy and is a reflection of the diminishing campus democracy. The memorandum will be submitted to the Ministry of Higher Education. For this purpose, we would welcome constructive input from MCA Youth in drafting the memorandum and hope that they would be one of the first signatories of the memorandum.

2. Arranging the formation of a Parliamentary caucus to repeal the UUCA. We will invite various political party youth wings, NGOs and youth organizations to be members of the caucus. In order to pursue the legislative process in Parliament to repeal the Act, MPs who are part of the youth wings of their respective parties are also invited to be core members of the caucus.

DAPSY believes that only through these steps can the 300,000 undergraduates currently pursuing various courses in public universities enjoy greater liberty, as expressed by MCA Youth Chief Secretary, Wee Ka Siong. Otherwise, what Wee said will remain as plain talk devoid of any concrete action.

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