Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ultimatum for Saifuddin Pro-govt students want deputy minister to quit if demands not met

Pro-government students rally
TAKE BLAME OR GO: The student protesters marching to the Higher Education Ministry. They have given its deputy minister 14 days to meet two demands

A pro-government student group led by the Malaysian Student Leaders Alumni Aspiration Association (Persatuan Pemimpin Alumni Mahasiswa Aspirasi Malaysia — Aspirasi) has called for Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah’s resignation if their demands submitted to his office are not met.

In the memorandum which they submitted to Saifuddin’s senior private secretary Mohd Nazri Noh, Aspirasi demanded that Saifuddin be fully responsible for the Dec 17 flagswapping incident which “shamed the dignity of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak”.

They also want the minority student groups involved in the incident to apologise to Najib, other students and the nation itself.

About 350 students and alumni from various public institutions of higher learning gathered at the Higher Education Ministry yesterday to voice their outrage that Saifuddin was on “too friendly terms” with proposition student group Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM).

“The deputy minister has prostituted campus democracy. We are the ones who won during campus elections but he doesn’t listen to us. We are the silent majority,” said Aspirasi president Mohd Shahar Abdullah.

He blamed Saifuddin for the flag-swapping incident which occurred on Dec 17 at PWTC when SMM and Liberate Academic Freedom (Bebas) group temporarily lowered a flag with Najib’s image on it.

The group then raised a flag which stated: “Bebaskan (Liberate) Academic Freedom”.

“If Saifuddin fails to meet our demands, then he should resign his position as deputy higher education minister. He has 14 days to do so,” said Mohd Shahar.

Mohd Shahar then rallied his supporters calling for Saifuddin’s resignation as well as asking him to come down and meet them.

However, Mohd Nazri said Saifuddin was in Seremban after launching an event at Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia earlier.

Mohd Nazri met the rally’s leaders at around 12.30pm and asked them to come again today but they insisted on holding the demonstration yesterday.

When contacted, Saifuddin said he would prepare a response today.

Khaled, in a statement last night, confirmed receiving the Aspirasi memorandum and said its demands would be evaluated.

He also slammed the actions of the Pro-Mahasisswa faction and labeled it “rude and unwarranted”.

“We are prepared to listen to various views, provided they do not stray beyond any moral boundaries, respect the rights of others and adhere to the principles of the Rukunegara.

“At the same time, we will not tolerate actions by any groups or individuals which tarnish the image of educational institutions which could jeopardise our goals of producing quality individuals for the country,” he said.

Group wants strict laws and policies for varsities

CALLS for stricter laws and policies for universities and other institutions of higher learning was the rallying cry during the peaceful demonstration and assembly organised by the Malaysian Student Leaders Alumni Aspiration Association (Persatuan Alumni Mahasiswa Asprasi Malaysia — Aspirasi) in front of the Higher Education Ministry yesterday.

The demonstration, which began around 2.30pm and lasted for about two hours, had around 350 demonstrators from various public universities and non-governmental organisations taking part.

“We are the campus majority, we are the silent majority who support our prime minister. We love our prime minister! Long Live PM!” shouted Asprasi president Mohd Shahar Abdullah. At around 3.15pm, the crowd marched to the Higher Education Ministry and submitted a sevenpoint memorandum to Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin’s political secretary, Mohamed Khairi Amalik.

The seven points highlighted in the memorandum included:

● defending the University and College University Act (AUKU) 2009 amendment;

● pro-active enforcement of the AUKU;

● legal action against illegal societies and individuals who join such societies;

● prohibit the printing, publications and distribution of seditious material;

● prohibit any and all political party interference in universities;

● enforcing university student and staff pledges;

● and taking legal action against Adam Adli, who led the Pro-Mahasiswa group in the Dec 17 incident where pro-opposition student groups swapped Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s flag with a protest flag.

During the march, the crowd chanted their support for Najib and also called for the resignation of Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah for his perceived “friendliness” to the pro-opposition student groups.

On Dec 17, Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia swapped a flag bearing Najib’s image with a banner reading: “Bebaskan (Liberate) Academic Freedom”.

Pro-government students rally

WE SUPPORT YOU: Student demonstrators marching during the rally organised by Asprasi

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