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Students say political rights amendment falls short

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The recent vote in the Malaysian Parliament to pass amendments to three acts to allow students greater political freedom has been generally welcomed – but not everyone is happy, reports Anil Netto.

The amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) 1971 were passed on 10 December, which was also the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Two other related acts – the Private Higher Educational Institutions Act 1996 and the Educational Institutions (Discipline) Act 1976 – were similarly amended.

Section 15(2)(c) of the UUCA, which prohibited a student from being “involved in political activities within campus”, was repealed. Similar sections were dropped in the other two acts, effectively removing a ban on students taking part in political activities on campus.

Education Minister Maszlee Malik said the amendments tabled were just the initial move to abolish the UUCA totally by 2020. Even though it was just a subsection, “it is very significant as it would eliminate the siege mentality and culture of fear which have been shackling university students”.

Student activists, however, had hoped that the government would amend the UUCA to drop Sections 15 and 16, which curtail students’ involvement in political activity. Full article on University World News website

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