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Wednesday, September 15, 2004


Suhakam & Campus Elections

::i have just read the Malaysiakini and you can go read the article :: Aspersions cast on Suhakam’s ability to monitor student polls by Beh Lih Yi yourself in full if you are a subscriber.
In the said article, the Ministry of Higher Learning parliamentary secretary, one Dr Adham Baba, who is also Umno Youth education bureau chief. and who was a UM [Universiti Malaya] student leader in the mid-80s, said ::
“Is Suhakam professional enough to monitor the polls? Are they well-equipped? Who are they going to send?”

When told about the runaround given to Suhakam by the universities and his MINIstry, Adham said that his MINIistry would leave the decision to the campus authorities. Apparently Suhakam is still waiting for approval to monitor. Suhakam says that monitoring of campus elections is among its tasks. Unfair election is a human rights violation whether it is inside or outside the campus, so Suhakam got to do its job. The Education MINIstry, on the other hand, maintains that the universities have the machinery required to conduct the elections and there is no need for Suhakam.
When told that the ‘pro-establishment’ forces, allegedly being helped by the university authorities, have won over the ‘anti-establishment’ groups in UM, which was formerly a bastion of the anti group, the parliamentary secretary was delighted. He had this to say
“I see this development because students want real changes. When the anti-establishment candidates controlled the student council, UM’s ranking among Asian universities dropped from 11th in 1997 to 27th in 2000. They succeeded in making changes this time.”

What has control of the student council got to do with UM's Asian ranking? He should be looking at his MINIstry instead for the decline in ranking and do some homework. The state of education in this country, whether it is lower education or higher education is in the rut right now, thanks to his MINIsstry. Now with two MINIstries looking after education, the thing is whether his MINIstry and the 'Lower Learning MINIstry' are up to it. Hopefully there are able return UM to its former state in the near future. But then again with a MINIstry which think that student councils should be docile and supportive only of governement policies, that student councils affect a university's ranking and that all is well with guided campus elections, can we truly have hopes.



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