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SK: A former university student would disagree, PM
By Martin Jalleh

4/7/2001 8:27 pm Wed

[Mahathir tidak mahu pelajar aktif berpolitik tetapi yang peliknya dia dan Umno berpolitik sahaja di kampus mengemis sokongan dan ahli. Malah mahu membuang orang itu dan orang ini.

Sepatutnya menteri pelajaranlah yang lebih menonjol di kampus - mengapa tidak diserahkan semuanya kepada menteri pelajaran dan timbalannya sahaja? Apa perlunya Mahathir tiba dan bercakap pula kerana dia sendiri tahu dia tidak diingini pun di situ? Apakah Mahathir gentar anak-buahnya itu tersilap angka dan kata-kata lagi? Atau mereka sebenarnya tidak layak untuk menjadi menteri??

Mahathir mahu rakyat membantah di peti undi sahaja sedangkan demokrasi bukan setakat itu sahaja. Peti undi hanyalah satu suara sedangkan ada banyak lagi suara demokrasi. Mahathir mahu rakyat bebas memangkah tetapi tidak bebas mendengar dan berkata-kata. Itu namanya kuku besi yang bersalut demokrasi.

Pandangan Mahathir itu langsung menyanggahi apa yang ditulis oleh Menteri Undang-undangnya sendiri. Ini bukan satu contoh untuk diteladani apatah lagi untuk dikempen dan diajar di universiti.
- Editor

A former university student would disagree, PM

The PM told university students recently not to meddle in the running of the government and to keep politics out of the campus.

"You don't want outsiders to meddle in your business. By the same virtue, you must not meddle in others' too.

"I am the Prime Minister and it is my responsibility to administer the government, so don't interfere in the government's business," he told 2,000 student leaders from all local universities during a dialogue after closing a symposium themed "Reaffirming the Idealism of Undergraduates in the New Millennium" at Universiti Malaya. The PM stressed the need for students to adopt proper approaches to achieving their objective instead of whatever means to justify the end.

He added that they should use their right to vote if they wanted to change the government because the ballot symbolised the ultimate power of the people (Star, 2.7.01).

One can think of no better and fitting response to the PM's twisted thoughts than the wise views of a former student of the University of London, who, in his doctorate, wrote so very convincingly:

On justice and the education system

"Even with the increasing number of the young and well-educated in the country there appears to be little interest in the importance of civil liberties...

"The bland "antidote"given by the government has always been the same == that so long as progress and development are brought to the rakyat, other matters are to be regarded as secondary. So far, the people have somehow swallowed this prescription...

"Will things continue to develop this way? Perhaps so, because there has been nothing in the education system of the country that encourages the inculcation of the rule of law or the importance of the people's right to question the authorities on matters that affect their lives. (Hear ye, Hear ye, Mr Prime Minister).

"Malaysians (especially university students?) are expected to look, listen and follow. If one wants to lead, one has to join the ruling elite...

"In view of this prevalence, the first logical imperative must certainly be to introduce the essence of the rule of law and human rights within the education system so as to endear the young to the concept.

"At least at university level there is a dire need for the students to learn about the rule of law in concept as well as practice. Be they Muslim or non-Muslim, social justice and fairness, firmly encapsuled in the notion of checks and balances, must be imbued in the education system...

"...the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 has to be toned down in terms of the freedoms of speech and association it drastically restricts....

On democracy and populism

"It is imperative that the infrastructure for the dissemination of public opinion be on the top of the agenda for the Malaysian people, if democratic rights are to be even partially meaningful.

"After all, democracy does not only mean having general elections once in four or five years, or having roads, bridges, schools and the creation of an echelon of rich people as a result of rampant political patronage.

"A society has the right to dissent even after the ballot is cast.

"The executive must be allowed to take a substantial portion of power to rule, but it cannot take away all rights to voice an opinion that may not go well with those in power. This is what differentiates a democratic system from a populist regime.

"As Lord Hailsham has recently said, ' Democracy is not the same as populism, which is and always has been one of its most dangerous enemies'."

The then university student is none other than the former "Dr" Rais Yatim, whose "intellectual and academic demise" (since joining the Supreme Executive) have been a great loss to this country. The above are excerpts taken from his doctorate "Freedom from Executive Power in Malaysia".

Martin Jalleh