Tuesday September 18, 2007
Varsities to fix election rules
SERDANG: Each public university will decide on the suitable rules and requirements for the upcoming student elections, said Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed.
“We are open to ideas and suggestions but there are all kinds of proposals so the universities themselves should be the ones looking into them,” he told reporters before presenting research grants together with Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis yesterday.
Asked when the campus elections would be held, Mustapa said the ministry was in discussions with the deputy vice-chancellors (student affairs) of the public universities.
“We will be announcing the date in a few days’ time as we want to ensure there is no clash with any examinations,” he said.
Mustapa also said that he had been briefed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz on his meeting last week with Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM) – a coalition of seven student bodies from public universities.
Among the proposals from SMM were changing the casting of votes from residential colleges to faculties, abolishing the e-voting system, ensuring independent members in the campus election commission, increasing the election campaign period to seven days and allowing independent bodies to monitor the campus election.
In an immediate response to Mustapa’s statement, Kelab Rakan Siswa Islah Malaysia president Mohamad Amirul Mohamad Letfee hoped there would be “clean elections with no external interference”.
“Technically, if the universities alone have the authority, students should be able to campaign freely,” he said, adding that there were previous cases where nominated students were not allowed to campaign as their names had not made it to the list of candidates.
The Universiti Malaya Student Representative Council’s Internationalisation and External Relations Committee chairman, Mohammad Firdaus Abdul Aziz, said it was a good move for public universities to decide on the rules and requirements.
“I hope we are going to have a ‘healthy’ election so that there will be no more complaints that we are siding with the Government,” he said.