Isnin, Februari 07, 2011

Pre-election twist : Pro-M


It was not the fiery protest they had planned for, but a group of students still went ahead to make their demands known to the authorities.

A PLANNED picket by pro-Mahasiswa students at the Higher Education Ministry recently turned out to be quite a tame affair.

The event began an hour later than the scheduled tim e and it was not a picket in the end.

There were policemen in the premises, but the students were allowed to gather there to present their memorandum against various problems they faced, chief of which was the e-voting in the upcoming campus elections.

The students making their way to the ministry to present the memorandum.

After some deliberation, only five representatives were allowed to deliver their message to Mohd Arif Adenan, the special officer to Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

After a brief discussion, the students departed and despite some brief smiles for the cameras, the general feeling was one of discontent.

We are not very happy with the meeting as there was no conclusive result,” said Pro-Mahasiswa Nasional secretary Ahmad Syukri Abd Razak.

This is a follow-up to a similar memorandum we passed to the ministry last year after the campus elections, and we feel we have to make our concerns known before fresh elections begin.

Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM), Gabungan Anak Muda Islam Se-Malaysia (GAMIS), Persatuan Kebajikan Pelajar Islam Malaysia (PKPIM) and the Malaysian Youth and Student Democratic Movement (DEMA), among others, were also present.

In the memorandum, the students called for the scrapping of e-voting which resulted in a temporary impasse at Universiti Malaya (UM) last year.

The pro-Mahasiswa students claimed that election results could be easily manipulated under the e-voting system and the integrity of those who maintain the system could be questioned.

They also cited a confidentiality breach by alleging that the identity and choices of the voters could be compromised.

Apart from UM, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) is the other campus which utilises the e-voting system.

The students also demanded “clean and fair” elections where students could vote without the interference and pressure from university officials or political parties.

Other requests included a campaign period of seven working days – up from two days last year, the presence of independent observers to monitor the election process and an early announcement of the election dates.

Campus elections have already begun sporadically but much attention rests on the upcoming polls at UM, UPM and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).

The three camp uses have the most vibrant political atmosphere and unexpected results and incidents are part and parcel of the electoral process.

The universities have not set any dates for the e lections.

Commenting on the demands, Mohd Arif said that although the meeting was civil, the students should not protest for the sake of protesting.

They raised many old issues that have already been resolved ,” he said.

For example, UM’s e-voting system was tested by independent experts last year and there was no proof of manipulation.