Syed Saddiq says still attending tonight’s dialogue session despite UiTM barring the gates
KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) president Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman said today he will still head to Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) to engage with the varsity students in a dialogue session tonight that was previously rejected by the university.
In a press conference, the Muar MP accused UiTM of blocking its students from attending the dialogue session after it was reported that the university has closed one of its dormitories’ gates between 9pm tonight and 6am despite the fasting month of Ramadan.
“Today, it was reported that a message went viral on WhatsApp that Kolej Melati gates will be closed from 9pm until 6am due to technical problems.
“As if [the university] is trying to imprison the students from joining the dialogue session. Hey, they are adults!” Syed Saddiq told the media in Parliament.
Speaking on the rejection, Syed Saddiq said that the reason that was given by the university was peculiar because he has no intention to hold a provocative protest but rather a peaceful dialogue session with the students.
The dialogue session titled “Interns are not Forced Labour”, organised by Muda affiliate Ikatan Mahasiswa Demokratik Malaysia, was supposed to be led by Syed Saddiq, and held at the university’s Dataran Cendekiawan tonight at 10pm.
He also questioned why he was denied entry now that Muda is part of the coalition government when he had faced no problem holding a peaceful dialogue session in the third quarter of last year when the party was part of the opposition.
“Last year when I was in the Opposition, I was allowed to enter the university with the students. In the third quarter last year, close to the general election (GE15), I was given the right to enter Universiti Malaya. Nobody stopped me,” he added.
Previously, Muda secretary-general Amir Hariri Abd Hadi has renewed its call to have the government to repeal Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 (Auku) and Educational Institutions (Discipline) Act after UiTM Shah Alam management allegedly rejected the party’s application to hold a dialogue session within the university’s compound.
At the time of writing, Malay Mail sighted a circular issued by the Dean of Faculty of Administrative Science and Policy Studies Nor Hafizah Mohamed Harith warning the students not to join the dialogue session.
Malay Mail is currently contacting UiTM for further developments.
Previously, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin has vowed that it will not allow any political party to be setup in any tertiary education institutions.
Khaled also stressed in Parliament, that the issuance of permits for politicians to enter universities or colleges is jot under his ministry’s jurisdiction, and instead depends on each institution’s vice-chancellor.
Meanwhile, deputy higher education minister Datuk Mohammad Yusof Apdal's remark saying that the Auku would be amended to provide university students with the opportunity to participate in politics openly, allowing them to become members and candidates of political parties, among other things.
The ministry previously said that it would keep the Act deemed as repressive to students, but would be looking to improve it so that students will have more freedom to participate in political activities.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim later said that the sections of the Act limiting freedom will be repealed, including the sections limiting the freedom of lecturers.