PKR slams Azizan’s move

Opposition unhappy over Kedah MB’s decision to suspend 5 students

(New Straits Times) – MENTERI Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak came under fire from a leader of the opposition pact over the Pas-led Kedah government’s decision to suspend five students from the state-owned Kolej Universiti Insaniah (Kuin).

  Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s communication director Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said they regretted Kuin’s decision to apply the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 (UUCA) on the five students.

  “We hope justice will prevail in this case and that all the opposition-led states show their commitment against the UUCA by not allowing a repeat of such incidents,” Nik Nazmi said  yesterday.  

  However, Azizan, who is Kuin chairman, defended his move saying there must not be any outside interference as it was a local issue involving a state-owned higher learning institution and not related to the opposition’s pledge to abolish UUCA, if they come into power.

  “Why are they making a big fuss about this? This issue has been blown out of proportion and is not related to our Buku Jingga manifesto.

  “Kuin belongs to the state government and its administration has the right to punish students according to the existing law. It can be settled at the state-level without outside interference.”

  Last April, five students were suspended after they staged a protest against Kuin’s plan to vacate the hostel and make way for the state government’s smart school Sekolah Insan Bistari.    

   It is learnt that on Jan 22, the five submitted a letter to Kuin Rector Professor Datuk Dr Jamil Osman offering to settle the case out of court on certain terms and conditions, including a request for Kuin administration to declare it as an “UUCA-free” university.

  However, Azizan said they would not oblige.

  Student group Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia said if the situation persisted, the PKR-linked non-governmental organisations will organise demonstrations to protest the “stifling of students freedom of speech”.

  Its scholar segmentation coordinator, Wan Noor Azli Wan Haron Faril, said Azizan’s action cast negative perceptions on the opposition’s pledge to repeal the UUCA.

  “It was clearly expressed in the Buku Jingga and Azizan is going against what they had promised. He is stubborn despite much criticism even from PKR leaders.”

  Universiti Sains Malaysia school of social sciences deputy dean Associate Professor Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said the Kedah government’s decision was against their Buku Jingga manifesto.

  “The question is to what extent does the opposition coalition has the power to interfere with the states under them.

  “If Azizan says the issue is not related to Buku Jingga and that the state government need not follow it, then the manifesto is meaningless because it is supposed to be a guideline.”

  Universiti Utara Malaysia law, government and international studies college dean Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani said the students suspension was “an appropriate thing to do” because all public universities must abide by the UUCA.