Students, activists believe Dr M will unshackle universities

Source: Malay Mail

Placards promoting academic freedom line the road heading into Universiti Malaya on December 12, 2014. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 — Students and activists affected by laws curbing academic freedom — a legacy of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s previous administration — expressed faith today that the prime minister will honour his word and free universities from decades of political interference.

Two student leaders who were punished by their universities for dissidence told a forum on academic freedom here that they expect nothing less than total autonomy for universities, and they were optimistic that the man blamed for the laws that fettered academia will respond accordingly.

“He had said he would honour his word,” Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi, one of the leaders that led the Tangkap M01 movement, told a forum organised by Fortify Rights, an advocacy group that documents human rights violations in Malaysian campuses.

“And one of the pledges made by Pakatan Harapan in their manifesto is to amend AUKU,” he added.

AUKU, or the University and Colleges Act, was introduced in 1971 in what critics said was aimed at curbing the rise of student activists critical of the ruling Barisan Nasional government at the time. Read more

Political VCs and free speech problem at universities

Source: FreeMalaysiaToday

Law lecturer Azmi Sharom says education minister’s order for open forums provide only a short-term solution, and calls for vice-chancellors who are independent of the ministry. Pic taken from FMT News.

GEORGE TOWN: Education Minister Maszlee Malik’s order for public universities to freely organise forums and other such events has been generally welcomed but one academic views it as only a short-term solution for free speech on campus.

Associate professor Azmi Sharom of Universiti Malaya believes the crux of the problem lies in the political appointment of vice-chancellors, who are heads of universities.

Maszlee has directed universities to allow open participation in academic programmes such as debates, forums and other forms of intellectual discourse, in line with worldwide practices.

While agreeing with Maszlee’s order, Azmi said “you still do not want the minister telling you what to do” and that universities should have allowed for free debates and forums on their own without having to wait for a minister to tell them.

“As long as the vice-chancellors are politically appointed, as they used to be, this becomes an issue,” he said. What was required was for amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act, a full review of all university rules, and the appointment of vice-chancellors who are independent of the ministry. Read more

“Tangkap MO1” students take Universiti Malaya to court

Source: NST Online

Four UM students who were found guilty of participating in the "Tangkap MO1" rally held in Aug, initiated legal action to challenge the validity of university's disciplinary rules today, pic by Khairah N. Karim for NST.

Four UM students who were found guilty of participating in the “Tangkap MO1” rally held in Aug, initiated legal action to challenge the validity of university’s disciplinary rules today, pic by Khairah N. Karim for NST.

KUALA LUMPUR: Four Universiti Malaya (UM) students, who were found guilty of participating in the “Tangkap MO1” rally held in Aug, initiated legal action to challenge the validity of the university’s disciplinary rules today.

Students Anis Syafiqah Md Yusof, 24, Mohamad Luqman Nul Haqim Zul Razali, 23, Suhail Wan Azhar, 22, and Muhammad Luqman Hakim Mohd Fazli, 22, filed an originating summons seeking a declaration that UM’s (Discipline of Students) Rules 1999 is unconstitutional. In their action, they are requesting a proclamation that Section 15 (3)(b) of the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971; and Regulations 3 and 13 of the UM (Discipline of Students) Rules, which do not prohibit students from exercising their right to freedom of speech and expression and to participate in demonstrations, have contravened Article 10 (2) of the Federal Constitution. Read more

Kumpulan hak asasi antarabangsa gesa universiti Malaysia henti halang mahasiswa bersuara

Sumber: The Malaysian Insider

A group of Universiti Malaya students protesting campus authorities' clampdown on free speech in July 2014. Human Rights Watch Asia says local varsities should encourage debate among students. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 22, 2016.

A group of Universiti Malaya students protesting campus authorities’ clampdown on free speech in July 2014. Human Rights Watch Asia says local varsities should encourage debate among students. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 22, 2016.

Universiti di Malaysia digesa menghentikan penggunaan tindakan disiplin untuk menghalang mahasiswa bersuara dan mengehadkan perdebatan, kata kumpulan hak asasi berpangkalan di New York Human Rights Watch (HRW) susulan kes 6 pelajar didapati bersalah kerana mengadakan sidang media tanpa kebenaran.

Timbalan Pengarah HRW Asia Phil Robertson berkata, universiti sepatutnya menjadi medan untuk perbincangan terbuka dan perdebatan.

“Pelajar tidak wajar didenda kerana bersuara secara aman di bawah penguatkuasaan disiplin universiti,” katanya dalam satu kenyataan hari ini. Read more