Abolish Universities & University College Act to Revive University and Student Autonomy
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A Memorandum of Demands to the Government of Pakatan Harapan
We, on behalf of concerned university students and academicians who are committed to the reform agenda of this country are elated that for the first time in the history of Malaysia, a peaceful transition of government has taken place, ending a 61 years of the rules of a regime through the power of representative democracy. It is also for the first time that we enjoy the attention of an attentive government who vouched to preserve the rule of law. However, our colleges and universities have not been reformed to ensure that its philosophy is aligned with the spirit of democracy, freedom and justice. With this, we hope to bring forth the issue of Universities and University Colleges Act 1971( better known as Akta Universiti dan Kolej Universiti-AUKU)
As such, we sincerely demand for an institutional reform by abolishing Universities and University College Act 1971 (AUKU) and for it to be replaced with a new legislation which includes the elements as stated below:
A) Abolish AUKU and Revive Campus Autonomy
i) Free universities from political interference in order to revive campus autonomy and academic freedom.
ii) Members of the Senate, representative of the Student Union, representatives of administrators and representatives of alumni association must be involved in University Council and given the power in decision-making processes.
iii) Not granting any Minister the absolute power to appoint Vice-Chancellors. The appointment should be done by independent election commission comprising of Board of Directors, Deans, university academicians, representatives from Student Union.
iv) The members of the Senate and Deans of all faculties will be elected solely by academic members.
v) The annual budget and financial report have to be presented and made available to the relevant stakeholders.
B) Revive Student Autonomy
i) Re-establish Student Union where the members are elected by university student and grant it the absolute power to oversee and manage student affairs.
ii) Reform the structure of Student Affairs Department (HEP). The staff of the Department will be hired by Vice Chancellor with the agreement of the Student Unions. HEP need to report directly to Student Union (refer chart 1 in appendix).
iii) The University has to allocate budget to the Student Union based on the number of the students.
iv) Student organisations must be given management and financial autonomy. The organisations will still need to gain activity approval from Student Union for review process.
v) Committees of students’ residential college must be elected by students from the respective residential colleges.
vi) Appoint independent auditor to audit the finance of the Student Union and publish an annual financial report that is available to the public and make it available for public scrutiny openly on their websites.
vii) Students enjoy absolute freedom of speech and association regardless of being in campus or out of campus. These rights are granted by the Federal Constitution.
We recommend that a University Institutional Reform Committee that involves stakeholders of higher education, such as students and academics, should be formed in order to conduct research and studies into the matter.
We would like to remind our Pakatan Harapan government to fulfil their promises in manifesto HARAPAN: to abolish AUKU and to return academic freedom to all universities and colleges once being elected into power. We also want to see the revival of student autonomy. Student Union that once represented varsity students on campuses and enjoyed high autonomy was brought down by AUKU. Hence, we urge the Pakatan Harapan government to revive university autonomous status, also Student Union and its power.
1.University of Malaya Association of New Youth (UMANY)
2. Angkatan Mahasiswa University of Malaya
3. Demokrat University of Malaya
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