Friday, May 9, 2008

Tabling of changes to Universities and University Colleges Act expected this year

AMENDMENTS to the Universities and University Colleges Act will be tabled this year.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Khaled Nordin said the committee overseeing the proposed amendments was preparing its “final draft.”

“The amendments are expected to be tabled in Parliament this year.

“The committee reviewing the Act has studied it and had 34 consultations and meetings with various groups including MPs, university administration staff, academician associations, non-governmental organisations and student bodies,” he said in a written reply to Teo Nie Ching (DAP – Serdang).

The committee was set up following a decision by the Government to review the Act and forward proposals for amendments.

“The committee has received various proposals and suggestions. The amendments will enhance the existing provisions in the Act and allow the moulding of more creative, critical and innovative undergraduates.

“It will also lead to a more conducive studying environment,” said Khaled.

The ministry, he added, had to be very cautious over the proposed amendments as this involved the participation of undergraduates in campus politics and other ideologies.

“Any amendment will have to take into account the views of all stakeholders, including the parents of students, and will have to be considered carefully so that it will not negatively impact national security,” said Khaled.

Meanwhile, a group of university students gathered at the Parliament lobby yesterday in solidarity of the call for the abolishment of the Universities and University Colleges Act 1975.

Five representatives of the group told reporters that the Act stunted activism among university students and went against human rights.

They said they would distribute a memorandum of their intent to all parliamentarians.

Asked on their choice of venue, a representative replied that they hoped it would give their cause more attention.

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