Irony and anomaly

One of the main differences between our universities and those in UK, US and many western countries is that while undergraduates there are allowed almost total freedom  , our undergraduates are still being treated as high school students in many aspects and  they need university permission to do this and that.

Even mere presence in a political rally could jeopardise a undergraduate’s future if someone reported him to the authority.

The irony is while there are UMNO clubs formed by Malaysian overseas university students in many of the western countries, Malaysian local university students are not allowed to even utter political support or participate in political events, even if they are over 21. The same person who can actively debate politics of our country while studying in university overseas suddenly is deemed to be not fit to discuss politics once he or she comes back and join a local university as a student.

Another irony is that while those local university students who are over 21 can exercise their votes as guaranteed under our Constitution, they are not allowed to take part in anything considered political. The very act of voting is itself political, not to mention that in order to vote, a person needs to form an opinion. if he is not allowed to take part in political events, how is he going to form his opinion, other than taking in the official version of events from main stream media?

This restriction on university students not to take part in politics also creates an anomaly. Those who join workforce directly after high schools and over 21 can take part in politics, while their counterparts studying in universities who are supposed to be the creme dela creme are considered not matured enough to take part in politics.  An anomaly that is not only laughable but down right ridiculous.

All these ironies and anomalies are the direct result of the UUCA, which places so many restrictions on our university students so as to stifle their creativity. Any wonder why none of our universities are ranked internationally?

I am glad that the Court of Appeals has now ruled that UUCA section 15(5)(a) is unconstitutional.  In fact, in my humble opinion, many other acts are unconstitutional too, like the one restricting on  freedom to assemble.

Apart from the law, too much restrictions on our university students run counter to our aim of producing all round, thinking  individuals who would be our leaders one day.  How the hell they can become good leaders when they are not supposed to learn to be leaders during the most important learning period of their lives?

In many western universities, students can form any society that they want. In fact, if they cannot find one society of their liking to join, they are welcome to form their own .This creates an milieu which encourages creativitiy, innovation, and exchange of ideas. That is what university is supposed to do, not merely a place to learn academic stuff, but a place where a person learns to develop  his potentials.

I hope our PM can  exert his leadership on this issue, and  once and for all repeal those restrictive sections in our law, so as to enable the ” blooming of a hundred flowers”.. We Malaysians need a renaissance of sort if we really want to move out of our middle income trap.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Phua Kai Lit
    Nov 02, 2011 @ 10:08:25

  2. Phua Kai Lit
    Nov 03, 2011 @ 08:40:46

    Dear Dr Hsu

    I would like to bring to your attention this article by Prof Lim Teck Ghee:

    Malaysia: A ‘bankrupt’ nation?
    by Dr Lim Teck Ghee

    So what happens when the country becomes bankrupt?

    When ordinary citizens or businesses become bankrupt, they can hide behind a court order and return to some kind of normal life thereafter. Those who have borrowed from Ah Longs, of course, cannot throw themselves at the mercy of the courts. They are more likely to be forced to rely on family members or friends to help them reach some kind of settlement or have to flee their aggressive creditors by changing their residence or even identity.

    Countries that are in default do not have the luxury of changing their identity or getting a court to provide some measure of protection. In Argentina which defaulted on sovereign borrowings and debt repayment in 2001, the consequences were horrendous. The country experienced a brutal spiral of inflation followed by hyperinflation, soaring unemployment soared and a collapse in the currency.

    The economy imploded, shrinking by 13 per cent in a year and the government was forced to cut public sector wages, slash the state pension and other social benefits. Unable to pay for goods with cash and with banks rationing withdrawals, citizens had to resort to bartering. Imported goods became unattainable.

    Economic shock was followed by social trauma and political crisis. The quality of life of the average Argentinian was lowered drastically and many businesses closed or went bankrupt. Argentinian society has still to recover fully from the mismanagement of the country’s economy during the late 90s.

    Let us pray – but prayer is not enough – let us make sure that the government never mismanages the Malaysian economy to the stage when we have to go through what the people of Argentina have had to suffer.

    An early version of this article appeared in the Chinese paper, ‘The Red Tomato’.


  3. klm
    Nov 03, 2011 @ 11:28:44

    Malaysia should cut back on its investment on university education. Since the country is unable to create the technological and innovation industries, there is no need to make this kind of investment. For better or worse, the economy is stuck to assembly and manufacturing, it is better to put the effort in to building skills to support this kind of economy. Forget about research and other such ideas. Pull back the expectation and people will be happeir. Forget about teaching maths and science in English. In fact, forget about teaching English.

    Go back to basic is more practical.


  4. sally
    Nov 03, 2011 @ 11:48:13

    “Let us pray”…
    The best way is to practice our religion, pray to God for the better, seek His blessings and protection from the evil ones.


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