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Friday, May 9, 2014

UiTM shows two faces in disciplining undergrad over anti-GST post, says PKR lawmaker

MAY 8, 2014
Nik Nazmi said today that UiTM’s action against Mohd Fathihie
showed something was 'very wrong' with the higher education system. — file picture
KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — PKR’s Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad called out Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) for practising double standards today in disciplining an undergraduate who criticised the government’s new tax while allowing “racist” views at a recent forum.

Nik Nazmi, who is also the Selangor state assembly deputy speaker, expressed concern over reports that Mohd Fathihie Gadius, a student at the public university’s Sabah campus, may be suspended for posting on Facebook his opposition to the controversial consumption tax.

“It would appear that the authorities of UiTM have no problems with allowing their campuses to be used as a platform for Umno-BN political events or even racist discourses but are dead set against their students having an opinion on crucial issues affecting the country’s economic well-being,” Nik Nazmi said in a statement today.

“Wasn’t it not so long ago that Prime Minister Najib Razak was promising to amend the University and University Colleges Act (UUCA) 1971, saying that his administration ‘had faith in the ability of undergraduates to be matured in their thinking and be responsible citizens’?

“Well, this latest incident of harassment of a student for independent thinking shows what a hollow sham this has all been,” the Seri Setia state assemblyman added.

Last Tuesday, the public university hosted a seminar on Christology, where the Muslim speakers claimed that the Gospels of the New Testament were “fake” and that Jesus Christ was merely a “human slave to Allah”.

Christology is the study of the life of Jesus Christ, whom Christians revere as God manifest on earth, based on the writings of his disciples.

Christians believe that Jesus Christ is divine, while Muslims insist that he was simply a human prophet.

Nik Nazmi said today that UiTM’s action against Mohd Fathihie showed something was “very wrong” with the higher education system, even as Malaysian universities have continuously dropped in international rankings over the past few years.

“Our universities and colleges attempting to clamp down on freedom of thought and expression is the main contributor to the poor standing and reputation of our institutions of higher learning,” he said.

“This is surely a gross abuse of common sense and civil liberties,” Nik Nazmi added.

The Home Ministry also recently banned some books that were translated into Bahasa Malaysia, including Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species about the theory of evolution.

Like Christians, Muslims generally discount evolution and believe that humans were created by God.

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