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Shafie’s reaction to the allegations of scare tactics and biased regulations in the upcoming campus elections is ridiculous

Media Statement
by Loke Siew Fook

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): It is most irresponsible and unacceptable for Higher Education Minister Dr Shafie Salleh to claim that he has no knowledge of matters related to the upcoming campus elections, which has been tainted by allegations of scare tactics and biased regulations.

Last year, campus elections in all 17 public universities were tarnished with allegations of foul play, where pro-student campaigners and candidates were unfairly treated by the authorities. Such allegations are brought up year after year. If Shafie has zero knowledge about all these wrongdoings and allegations, he has no right to assume such a high portfolio post in the Cabinet.

It has been reported that a series of secret meetings co-ordinated by the Higher Education Ministry recently brought together top university officials, Umno representatives and ‘pro-government’ student leaders, to strategize for the pro-government camp’s success in the upcoming annual campus elections.

A letter issued by the ministry’s welfare division head Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Hussin stated that the deputy vice-chancellors overseeing students affairs at all 17 public universities or university colleges had been invited to a ‘varsity student activities co-ordinating meeting’ and they were to gather at the Umno headquarters on July 27.

Perhaps Shafie should go to the ground or simply ask his officers, the first being Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Hussin, on what exactly is happening in our campus nowadays, since he seems to be in the dark about all the allegations.

Or perhaps Shafie should visit any of the 17 public universities in Malaysia to see for himself what is happening, starting with the oldest university in the country, University of Malaya. As UM is the premier university in Malaysia, allegations and cases of harassment such as these must not be tolerated and encouraged.

If Shafie is too busy to visit any of these public universities, then I would like to propose the formation of a committee of independent observers comprised of youth wing leaders from both opposition parties and ruling parties, youth organization leaders, NGOs, representatives from students groups and members of the public -- where the committee can be led by SUHAKAM -- to observe and ensure that the upcoming campus election is free, fair and clean in order to lay down the foundations for a nation with integrity and credibility.


* Loke Siew Fook,  DAPSY National Secretary and State Assemblyman for Lobak, Negeri Sembilan

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