Tak kenal maka tak cinta. Jom Kenali Universiti Awam (UA) Malaysia.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

An Open Letter.

Posted by Reign226

This link points you to a very enlightening letter sent by Prof Azmi Sharom, an associate professor of the Law Faculty in UM. It is interesting in that, in the history of the Malaysian education system, I have never seen anything even approaching CLOSE to the kind of vocal criticisms that the professor voiced out. In fact, I'm even more amazed that it's published in a newspaper that has been long regarded as just a mouthpiece of the government.

Kudos to The Star and doubly so to the great professor for writing history.

Most of us know (and don't worry if you don't know. That's why you are here) that the local public universities have been slowly on a decline. DAP leader Mr Lim Kit Siang himself have put forth many articles on his blog on what he thinks is a crisis in higher education, and I can't agree more.

Conceptually, there are several flaws of our education system, most prominent of which is the inter-mingling orgy of cross-breeding and shameless fornication between the ruling political party and the higher echelons of university administration. This can potentially be a problem for an unstable country where the nation's minds can be hijacked to achieve trecherous consequences. But Malaysia isn't such a country, and freedom must be accorded to universities so that their intellectual endaevours is not tied down by needless bureaucracy.

Yes, I understand that this is Malaysia and freedom is seen as a dirty word by some, but without it, there is little hope of achieving “world-class” universities.

Intellectualism cannot grow in a repressive atmosphere.

We all know that in this country, there are many laws that restrict our freedom to express ourselves, but the irony is that for lecturers and students there are additional laws levelled at them.

You must be aware of the University and University Colleges Act – that wonderful piece of legislation designed to ensure that university students are little more than secondary school pupils.

According to this law, we can’t say anything for or against government policy without getting ministerial permission first.

There is a point to be said here. The UUCA is a law passed to basically limit freedom among the local university students and academicians alike. The fact that the Opposition parties in university has always faced harrassment is something to think about. I feel that university students are encouraged not to think too much about the uni-level elections and just vote for anybody (Anybody being the pro-government party). This in my view creates a wrong and diseased meme for all students, who will grow up carrying this habit of not caring about politics and simply voting.

The fact is that, any level-headed person will see that an Opposition is required in any democracy. It wouldn't be called a democracy otherwise. Earlier this year, the opposition parties basically boycotted the university elections citing unfair treatment and harassment. And this is, sadly true as I have read personal experiences of people who went for the elections. They have these groups who terrorize and basically make life hard for anybody working for or sympathetic to the opposition. Would any sane person do this? I cannot think of a reason for this kind of behaviour other than that it is sponsored by people in certain quarters who would like to see the voices of the opposition silenced.

Unfortunately, rational thought and level-headed thinking is something that is lacking in our culture, which is still steeped in religious beliefs and propaganda. The fault has to lie with the administration of the university, and by indirect correlation, the ruling political party, which stands to enjoy the greatest gains from this unholy alliance.

Why don’t you just leave the day-to-day running of the universities in the hands of the universities? I bet the Ministry has enough on its plate without having to decide about trivial things like professorial promotions and the approving of leave for academics to go to conferences and holidays overseas.

Indeed. I couldn't agree more. I hope that more people will be exposed to the injustices in our education system. I am appalled that most would prefer to remain katak di bawah tempurung and not seek to advance understanding of something so important in their lives (I am referring of course to students themselves). I hope that you have learnt something valuable from this post and carry this knowledge with you everywhere. Once again, I am pleasently surprised that such a vocal, critical opinion has been published. Let's hope that in the next few months, the good professor does not suddenly disappear from sight. =D
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