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Call for observer teams by MPs, civil society, National Institute of Integrity and Suhakam  to ensure free, fair and clean student campus elections to build the foundation for  a nation of integrity

Media Statement

by Lim Kit Siang  

Parliament, Saturday): There are widespread and legitimate concerns that university student campus elections every year have become the training ground for the larger milieu of election corruption, abuses and money politics, whether in political parties or in national and state general elections completely against the pledge of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to create a new culture of national integrity with zero tolerance for corruption.

Already many complaints have surfaced about intimidation, vote-buying and downright unfair election practices and rules by  several university authorities  in the run-up to university student elections later this month or in early October.


It is most  deplorable that currently the top criteria for the selection of Vice Chancellors and Deputy Vice Chancellors is not scholastic eminence or intellectual leadership but  political loyalty,  subservience and preparedness by  hook or by crook  to ensure that “pro-government” students control all student organizations,  even if it means a completely submissive and servile student population devoid of critical thought or social awareness.


When  the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was looking for a new President, its University Council Search and Find Committee  launched a global search and short-listed 150 candidates before selecting Dr. Su Guaning – who received his early primary education in Muar in 1955.  Dr. Su’s selection was unanimously supported by the University Council and also unanimously endorsed by the Academic Board of NTU, where all deans, vice deans, heads of divisions, the upper echelon of the University administration and full professors were  members.


This process of searching for the best to be an university Vice Chancellor is totally alien to the Malaysian higher education culture, which operates in a most arbitrary and unacademic fashion, with the Higher Education Minister combing the civil service list for the most “politically loyal and subservient” candidate for the post.


One terrible result is not only low academic standards and morale but the gross abuses and corrupt practices which mar and disgrace university student  elections  every year.



The head of the Malaysian Integrity Institute, Datuk Dr. Sulaiman Mahbob, said last week that the most meaningful way to celebrate our 48th National Day is  to respond to the Prime Minister’s call for towering personalities by transforming Malaysia into “a nation of integrity”.


There are enough words. The time has come to walk the talk.


Let us begin by ensuring that the forthcoming campus  student elections in all the public universities are clean, free and fair, so that the universities are the seedbeds for character-building and integrity  and not training ground for money politics and   crooked deeds.


I call  for observer teams by MPs, civil society, the National Institute of Integrity and Suhakam  to ensure free, fair and clean student campus elections to build the foundation for  a nation of integrity.



*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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