MARA students should not be forced to study the Mahathir's thoughts

Press Statement
by Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew

(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): According to a Bernama report on 16 October 2003, the students at UiTM will be forced to study the " Thoughts of the Prime Minister".

A book of that title, containing a collection of speeches by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, will be a compulsory subject at the University of Technology MARA.

This was decided by the UiTM senate recently as they want all students and lecturers to study the Prime Minister's ideas covering various fields.

"Dr Mahathir's leadership has been proven and should be emulated," the news agency quoted vice-chancellor Ibrahim Abu Shah as saying.

But many other Malaysians who were critical of Mahathir's thoughts may not share the viewpoints of Ibrahim Abu Shah and other senate members. As such UiTM should refrain from forcing the Mahathir's thoughts down their throats.

In the late 1960s, the "Little Red Book" containing the thoughts of Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong was widely studied in China. But the students of China were not forced to study Mao's thoughts in schools and campuses. They were only encouraged to read the " Little Red Book".

Mahathir may have done something good for the nation. But at the same time he is guilty of many wrongdoing and blunders during his 22 years as Prime Minister.

One of his greatest disservices to the nation is that he has corrupted the minds of the young generation, so much so that many youngsters today cannot differentiate what is right and what is wrong. The young people are not allowed to think and speak freely in schools and campuses, thanks to the University and University Colleges Act introduced by Mahathir himself when he was the Education Minister. Coupled with ISA, OSA, Printing and Publication Act and other draconian laws, the Malaysian youth as a whole have not been allowed to think, speak and write freely on political, social, cultural and educational issues. Many of them have become bonsais with a stunted mind.

Forcing the students to study Mahathir's thoughts could only corrupt the minds of the youngsters further. We do not want our youngsters to be influenced by a culture of corruption, cronyism and nepotism, without democracy, transparency and good governance.

We hope the proposed Mahathir Institution of the UIA would not compel its students to enrol such courses upon establishment.


* Ronnie Liu, DAP National Publicity Secretary & DAP Selangor Chairman