KUALA LUMPUR : The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) says civil and political rights awareness among students must be viewed positively to complement and supplement the formal education and training they receive in university.
Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said any unreasonable curtailment of students exercising their rights, particularly the rights to freedom of thought, speech and association as guaranteed in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, would deny them of an education and experience so vital for their development and maturity as responsible citizens and future leaders of the country.
He said Suhakam viewed with deep concern the many decisions of universities and institutes of higher learning in the country against students for their political activism.
“This includes the recent suspension of two students from the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) for inviting a Member of Parliament to deliver a talk on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the decision of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) to punish a group of students for organising and/or participating in a peaceful protest.”
Hasmy called for an urgent reform of laws, including an amendment to Section 16 of the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 (UUCA) to require all Universities to take into consideration the fundamental rights of its students when enacting or enforcing rules within their university.
He went on to say in his statement today that universities must ensure that the enforcement of their rules did not curtail the basic rights of students and added that this included the right to information, to discuss national and international issues, as well as to express their opinions on any issue in the true spirit of democracy.
“All educational institutions must seek to ensure that their rules and regulations are not restrictive, arbitrary and disproportionate to students’ freedom of expression, as students are entitled to the same civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights as all other members of society.”
He said everyone needed to recognise that healthy discussions, including discussions on national and political issues on or off campus, provided a space for students to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas which would inspire a more egalitarian and socially conscious society.
Hasmy also urged for student organisations be allowed to be independent and free from external manipulation and undue interference.
Source : The Rakyat Post http://buff.ly/1HVjeZN
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